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Propaganda Analysis 


October, 1 937 to October, 1 938 




tj . i 




q o Z 9 7 



President, E. C. LINDEMAN, New York School of Social Work 

Vice President, KIRTLEY MATHER, Harvard University 

Treasurer, NED H. DEARBORN, New York University 

Executive Secretary, CLYDE R. MILLER, Teachers College, 
Columbia University 


Frank E. Baker, Milwaukee State Teachers College 
Charles A. Beard 

Hadley Cantril, Princeton University 
Edgar Dale, Ohio State University 
Leonard Doob, Yale University 
Paul Douglas, University of Chicago 

Gladys Murphy Graham, University of California at Los Angeles 

F. Ernest Johnson, Teachers College, Columbia University 

Grayson N. Kefauver, Stanford University 

William Heard Kilpatrick 

Robert S. Lynd, Columbia University 

Malcolm S. MacLean, University of Minnesota 

Ernest O. Melby, Northwestern University 

James E. Mendenhall, Lincoln School, New York City 

Robert K. Speer, New York University 




T HIS volume is a guide to the understand- 
ing of the many propagandas assailing 
Americans today and certain to assail them, per- 
haps with increasing force, in the immediate 
future. It comprises studies published since Oc- 
tober, 1937 by the newly organized Institute for 
Propaganda Analysis. It contains hitherto un- 
published analytical suggestions which should 
be of particular and timely help to individuals, 
to members of adult groups and of college and 
high school classes who want to know how to 
recognize propaganda and analyze it. 

In the world today there is conflict between 
two faiths: that of the democrat, who holds that 
man is an end in himself, that everything worth- 
while in life depends on respect for the indi- 
vidual, on justice, and on friendly intercourse 
among men of all kinds; and that of the new 
dictators, glorying in power and war, hating and 
despising the “humanitarian weakness” of de- 
mocracy. The creed of the dictators is danger- 
ously attractive to many; in it there is none of 
the “drudgery of hard thinking” demanded by 
democracy, but a simple faith, a career of ad- 
venture, excitement, and self-sacrifice in some 
“great and glorious cause.” 

The first principle of action in a dictator- 
ship is to weld a powerful propaganda machine 
with which to bring all the people “into line,” 
to transform them into selfless automatons ex- 
isting only for the greater glory of the state. 
The first principle of action in a democracy is 
that all of its mature members understand the 
decisions they make, and share in the making 
of them. From this it follows that there must 
be no barriers to the carrying on of govern- 
ment by the consent of the governed. It is essen- 
tial in a democratic society that young people 
and adults learn how to think, learn how to 
make up their minds. They must learn how to 
think independently , and they must also learn 
how to think together . They must come to con- 
clusions, while at the same time recognizing 
that other men, for whom they have affection 
and respect, are coming to opposite conclusions. 
So far as individuals are concerned, the art of 
democracy is the art of thinking and discussing 
independently together. 

But there are factors in a democratic society 

which sometimes militate against the best use 
of discussion. Walter Lippmann indicated some 
of these when he wrote, “The private citizen 
today has come to feel rather like a deaf spec- 
tator in the back row. . . . [Public affairs] are 
managed, if they are managed at all, at dis- 
tant centers, from behind scenes, by unnamed 
powers.” What are these powers, and whose in- 
visible hands pull the strings which make things 
happen? And why do we “think” and act and 
vote in prescribed ways when certain strings are 

This situation is a far cry from Aristotle’s 
belief in the wisdom of collective humanity, 
from Horace Mann’s faith in the “free play of 

The challenge to democracy which the world 
offers today is for our American democracy to 
keep on making its own decisions, to make ever- 
wiser decisions concerning our problems, and 
to keep on inviting free, even if dangerous, 
choice. The fascination of democracy is that it 
is so often at the crossroads, there are so many 
propagandists pointing out the direction we 
should take. The disappointment about dicta- 
torships is that they seem to promise stability 
and security, but so often end with decisions 
which do not yield security — decisions which 
crush the individuals concerned and drive on to 
the annihilation in war of society itself. 

The corrective which Americans increasingly 
see that they must put to the weaknesses of their 
democracy — to the temptation to take too 
much of their thinking ready-made from others 
— is education. In a non-democratic state the 
lack of educational opportunity will cause 
great loss in countless ways to individuals, and 
ultimately to the state. But the stability of the 
state will not be directly affected. To a demo- 
cratic state, education is a vital necessity; for, 
without it, it is as if a man who had no knowl- 
edge of how to handle machinery and whose 
mistakes would spell wide disaster were placed 
in charge of a complicated and rather danger- 
ous machine. 

The world today is the victim of a system 
of subtle and ceaseless propaganda — suppress- 
ing, exaggerating, distorting. Backgrounds are 
established against which identical facts ap- 




pear so different as to be almost unrecognizable, 
and the task of finding solutions for difficulties 
is rendered infinitely more complex by the fact 
that in the modern world we can know only a 
few things from experience, we must depend 
upon “authorities,” upon what we read and 
hear for our knowledge. We must depend on 
those who supply the news or other material 
for judgment. The work of educators in a 
democratic society must be continually to em- 
phasize to the general body of citizens their 
duty to search out for themselves the matters 
on which it is the function of citizenship to 
form opinions and record decisions. 

Increasingly since the World War, and espe- 
cially during the last decade, the citizenry of 
this country has come to recognize the impor- 
tance of recognizing propaganda and of under- 
standing the role which it plays in their lives. 
The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, organ- 
ized in October 1937, was established as a non- 
profit, educational institution to analyze the 
propagandas of today and to formulate meth- 
ods whereby American citizens can make their 
own analyses of “attempts to persuade them to 
do something that they might not do if they 
were given all of the facts.” 

In a democracy, freedom of speech necessarily 
means freedom to propagandize; and this free- 
dom implies the obligation resting upon citizens 
to analyze propaganda affecting their interests, 
and the interests of the community. 

“There are three possible ways to deal with 
propaganda,” it was pointed out in the Octo- 
ber, 1937 letter of the Institute. “You can sup- 
press it, meet it with counter-propaganda, or 
analyze it and try to see how much truth there 
is in it. We are going to analyze it.” With this 
explanation and with the help of a ten thousand 
dollar grant from The Good Will Fund of the 
late Edward A. Filene, the Institute began its 
work. During the first year of its existence, its 
staff published fifteen letters of propaganda 
analysis, widely circulated among educators and 

This volume is made up of those fifteen brief 
studies of current propaganda, as well as “News 
from Europe,” the initial study of the Insti- 
tute’s second year. Included also are new ma- 
terials, consisting of discussion suggestions and 
study outlines, to aid adult and student groups 
in the analysis of today’s propaganda. This vol- 
ume should, therefore, be of value not only to 
the individual citizen but especially to students, 
teachers, and adults who use the Institute’s Oc- 
tober, 1938 publication, The Group Leader's 
Guide to Propaganda Analysis, prepared by 
Miss Violet Edwards, its educational director. 1 
Students and adults using this volume and The 
Group Leader's Guide to Propaganda Analysis 
may wish to supplement both with the Insti- 
tute’s “Survey of Opinion” tests, prepared with 
the assistance of Mr. Edward Glaser. 

Basic to propaganda analysis is an alert and 
critical but an emotionally-detached examina- 
tion 2 of controversial issues and of the opinions 
which flow from them — opinions which usu- 
ally carry a high charge of emotion. Basic, too, 
to the process of propaganda analysis are free 
discussion and the expression of many points 
of view by all members of a study group. Most 
of us know only too well that it is easy to sub- 
mit, to obey, to conform, or to “call names’' 
ourselves, but that it is far harder to join with 
others in discussion of common problems and 
to reach decisions on the basis of recognition 
of the problems themselves and on reckoning 
with the relevant facts. 

Without the interest and cooperation of 
many able friends the Institute could not have 
carried on the work of its first year. We regret 
that the names of all these persons and groups 
cannot be mentioned here. A few, however, 
must be recorded, so great have been their 

The Institute is particularly grateful to the 
late Edward A. Filene for his interest and sup- 
port, and to members of the Good Will Fund 
board who seek to realize the goals of Mr. 
Filene’s social vision. 

1 The Group Leader's Guide to Propaganda Analysis 
supplants the Institute’s publication of January, 1938, 
Propaganda— How to Recognize It and Deal with It, 
which, with its study suggestions and materials, was used 
in a nation-wide experimental study program, partici- 
pated in by more than 400 high schools, colleges, and 

2 It follows, of course, that in such study we retain an 
emotional drive for clarity of thought, for solving the 
problem at hand. We also utilize this emotional drive 

to realize in beneficial action the facts revealed by clear 
thinking. For example, men and women have had all- 
consuming emotional drives to eliminate smallpox, ty- 
phoid, and cancer. To achieve their ends in research 
they kept in check irrelevant emotions. And, finally, 
with facts in hand they, with the help of others, have 
given to millions of people the emotional drive to accept 
the facts concerning these diseases and to act in accord- 
ance with those facts. 



Without the interest and able assistance of 
its own Advisory Board, the Institute’s first vol- 
ume of propaganda analysis and study mate- 
rials could not have been realized. 

The Institute acknowledges the extensive ex- 
perimental work carried on in cooperating high 
schools, colleges, and universities throughout 
the country, which made possible many of the 
fine study suggestions in this volume. Among 
those institutions are the following: Univer- 
sity experimental high schools of Teachers Col- 
lege, Columbia University (especially the 
Horace Mann School); of Northwestern Uni- 
versity; of Ohio State University; of Stanford 
University; of Milwaukee State Teachers Col- 
lege; of Colorado State College of Education. 

Public high schools of Rock Island, Illinois; 
of Clayton, Missouri; of Manhattan, Kansas; 
of Newark, New Jersey (especially the Weequa- 
hick High School); of Gloversville, New York; 
of Bronxville, New York; of Pasadena, Cali- 
fornia; and of Honolulu, Hawaii. 

College classes of Stephens College, Mills 
College, the University of Missouri, Illinois 
State Teachers College, Ohio State University, 
Northwestern University, Pasadena Junior Col- 
lege, Colorado State College of Education, and 
many others. 

The Institute is greatly indebted for their 
cooperation to such organizations (and their in- 
dividual members) as the following: The Pro- 
gressive Education Association, the Stanford 
University Language Arts Investigation, the 
Denver and Pasadena Boards of Education. 

Grateful acknowledgment is made also to Mr. 

Charles A. Seidle, of Lehigh University, for- 
merly assistant to the secretary of the Institute, 
for his able assistance in the editing of the 
monthly issues of Propaganda Analysis and of 
the discussion notes for this volume; to Harold 
Lavine, now editorial director of the Institute, 
for assistance in preparing several studies; to 
Professor George W. Hartmann, of Columbia 
University, and to Professor John G. Pilley, of 
Wellesley College, formerly of Bristol Univer- 
sity, England, for their helpful counsel; to Miss 
Helen I. Davis, of DeWitt Clinton High School, 
New York City, for critical reading of manu- 
scripts; and to Professor Robert A. Brady, of 
the University of California, for material of 
great value in the Institute’s analysis of German 
Fascist propaganda. 

Finally, for methods and suggestions for 
bringing about group study, discussion, and 
follow-up activities, the Institute and its mem- 
bers are particularly indebted to Miss Violet 
Edwards and to Mr. Frank Walser. In preparing 
this valuable material, which should do much 
to make the monthly letters not only arouse but 
sustain constructive follow-up study and well- 
balanced free discussion, Mr. Walser has drawn 
upon his extensive work and research in the 
field of group discussion with adults and with 
young people. 

Clyde R. Miller 


Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Inc. 

New York City 
October 15, 1938 






Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes . 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes . 

Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes . 













The Press and Political Leadership , by Irving Brant 19 

A 1938 Press Job , from <( Editor and Publisher” 25 

Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 27 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 32 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 36 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 




Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 


5 6 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 60 






Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 64 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 68 


Letter of May 16 , 1938 69 

Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 72 

Letter of June 16, 1938 72 

Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 76 

Letter of July 16, 1938 76 

Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 79 


Suggested Activities and Discussion Notes 83 



T HE study and analysis of propaganda is a 
new field filled with useful possibilities, 
a challenge to the resourceful group leader or 
teacher. Here are a few suggestions. All who 
engage in this study are invited to send further 
suggestions to the Institute for Propaganda 
Analysis. Thus a body of useful and tried 
methods may be built up gradually. 

There are two main ways by which the stu- 
dent of propaganda can educate himself in the 
mental alertness and independence of thought 
needed to recognize and deal with propaganda: 
First, he should study and analyze the propa- 
ganda he sees most closely. Second, he should 
observe himself and his friends engaging con- 
sciously or unconsciously in propaganda when 
discussing some vital controversial problem. 

A. Studying and analyzing propaganda : 

i . Members of the discussion group may collect use- 
ful data on the propaganda devices used in their 
own homes, communities, and organizations, in 
large national groups. 

2. To do this the work may be divided according to 
the members’ particular interests. Some may wish 
to study the propaganda effects of the movies, 
news reels; radio programs, news commentators; 
newspaper cartoons, editorials, columnists, adver- 
tisements; periodicals; public relations counsels. 
Others may wish to study the propaganda ef- 
fects of educational meetings, concerts, lectures, 
churches; school clubs, student activities; text 
books, novels, etc. 

3- Each member of the discussion group should keep 
a work book on propaganda. In it he should paste 
newspaper items, editorials, cartoons, radio scripts, 
theatre programs, advertisements, copies of or ex- 
cerpts from speeches, etc., underlining words and 
phrases and noting specifically how these have 
been used for propaganda. 

4. The whole group can participate in writing and 
giving short dramatic sketches in which thought- 
provoking propaganda appears for both of two 
opposed points of view. 

B. Propaganda in discussion of controversial 

1 . Members of the group should be urged to respect 
mutual criticism. 

2. Short questionnaires concerning the main issues 

of the discussion should be answered before and 
again following the discussion. 

3. Occasionally in the midst of a heated argument, 
the discussion should be stopped suddenly and the 
attention of the group turned to the diverse atti- 
tudes expressed by the members and the reasons 
for this diversity. 

4. Similar in intent is the writing of a short “intel- 
lectual autobiography.” After the third or fourth 
meeting each member of the group should be 
urged to write such an autobiography indicating 
as honestly and fairly as possible what beliefs 
(political, economic, social, religious) he holds 
and why (from whom did he get them, how long 
has he held them, what are his best reasons for 
continuing to hold them). Tentative theories and 
major issues about which one has not yet reached 
a decision should also be indicated. These auto- 
biographies need not be shown to other members 
of the group, although greater value comes from 
frankly discussing them. 

5. Two or three members of the group may observe 
the discussion from an inconspicuous place and 
later report for discussion the propaganda devices 
used by participants. 

6. In every discussion an effort should be made to 
avoid “either-or” solutions. Seek additional alter- 
native solutions. 

7. Each discussion group should keep minutes or a 
log of discussions. Record the members present, 
the subject discussed, the major issues raised, the 
alternative solutions offered, the consensus (if one 
is reached), the prevalence of propaganda devices 
in the members’ presentations of their points of 
view, special assignments, and further suggestions. 


Whatever the discussion leader may person- 
ally believe, he should allow every member of 
the group to do his own thinking. This may 
require time and patience, but in the long run 
it is the only effective method. 

It is wise for different members of the group 
to take turns leading the discussion. Again, this 
may take more time, but it is valuable experi- 
ence which every member who is willing and 
able should have. It makes the individual mem- 
ber see more clearly the purpose of a discussion 
and it makes him a better participant in other 

It is not an easy matter to lead a discussion. 




The discussion leader should approach his task 
humbly and with much preparation both in the 
techniques of discussion leading and in the 
subject under consideration. 

The suggestions below and the following 
section on discussion outlines are particularly 
intended to help discussion and group leaders, 
teachers, students, and participants in discus- 
sions. A bibliography for additional study of 
the techniques of discussion leading is ap- 
pended at the end of this introduction. It should 
be remembered that these suggestions are only 
to help the discussion leader get started. After 
the discussion gets under way, he must be alert 
to all that is being said and to some things 
which are not said. At all times he must be 
courteous and helpful, even when he is restrict- 
ing the time of a member who has spoken too 
frequently or who is beginning to repeat him- 

Here are four specific suggestions for discus- 
sion leaders: 

1. One way of “warming up” the group is by using 
questions and getting the members to hunt up 
facts impartially. Thus with tact and skill the 
leader furthers the individual’s thinking process. 
In no way should he invite or suggest certain con- 
clusions, although he may, when asked, volunteer 
his own opinion at the conclusion of the discussion. 

2. When a discussion is based on a set of questions, 
as those following each section in this book, the 
whole list should not be read aloud at the begin- 
ning, but should be presented one at a time with 
such improvised additions as may stir the group’s 
imagination and interest. 

The questions and suggested activities listed in 
this volume have been carefully prepared with a 
certain sequence. The leader should be thoroughly 
familiar with them before beginning the discus- 
sion . Nothing will help him so much as foresight 
and careful planning in advance. More questions 
and suggestions are proposed for each section than 
can adequately be covered in one or two meetings. 
If possible , a sufficient number of meetings should 
be scheduled to cover them all; if not , the discus- 
sion leader should choose the items most pertinent 
for his group. 

3. Keep in mind the purpose of this whole study. 
It is not to agree or even to arrive at a conclusion 
(although these are valuable), but to develop in- 
dependent, critical minds which shall be strong in 
the face of the contrary winds and confusion of 

4. During a discussion the members of the group 
jointly explore a given issue. One of the chief 
tasks of the discussion leader is to see that the 
discussion remains on the main highway. It is 

always interesting to explore by-paths; and the 
group may decide that this is what it wants to do. 
But usually it is much better to keep the main 
issue and its development before the members. 
If a digression is felt advisable, the leader should 
be entirely conscious of the changed direction the 
discussion is taking. 

5. A discussion develops much as a pattern develops 
in weaving. The discussion outline which the 
leader has in mind might be thought of as the 
warp on a loom or the first threads. The contribu- 
tions to the discussion might be thought of as the 
weft or the cross threads w T oven into the warp to 
complete the pattern. The discussion leader is 
the weaver who sees the whole pattern, weaves the 
different parts together, and finds a place for each 
contribution. He does this by constantly review- 
ing and summarizing the points which have been 
made, by clarifying and defining conflicting issues 
and opinions, and by raising questions about parts 
of the discussion which he believes should be pur- 
sued further. 

6. One of the things that can most help discussion to 
be vital and meaningful is to support it and follow 
it with action. For instance, if before the first dis- 
cussion of propaganda every member has first 
asked five people for a definition of propaganda, 
this preliminary activity will almost certainly in- 
sure a good discussion. As for follow-up action, 
particular propagandas might be studied and re- 
ported at the second meeting. 


An outline is a kind of chart or blue-print of 
the way in which a particular subject will be 
developed. The author of an article, the de- 
liverer of a speech, the leader of a discussion 
should prepare a careful outline of his subject. 
The author fills in his outline by writing a com- 
plete article. The lecturer fills in his outline as 
he speaks. The discussion leader need not and 
should not follow his outline so closely as the 
author and speaker. But for himself his outline 
is just as necessary. 

Here are the main purposes of a discussion 

The primary value of a discussion outline is to 
help the leader foresee some of the problems and 
comments which may be presented by the group. It 
is a way of thinking through the whole issue, of pre- 
paring one’s self to direct the discussion and to relate 
to each other and to the main parts of the subject 
the various contributions from the members of the 

The secondary value is that the leader will have 
before him a framework for the development of the 



subject. This framework or outline will contain some 
of the points which he believes will be and should be 
raised for a careful consideration of the subject. He 
should be cautioned, however, to remember that the 
outline is only his approach, that the purpose of the 
discussion is to share opinions and not to have him 
lecture. The purpose of the discussion outline, there- 
fore, is to help the leader see the problem more 
clearly and so to lead the discussion more expertly. 

In preparing a discussion outline and in 
helping the members of a discussion group 
think through solutions for a given problem or 
set of issues, the following twelve steps have 
been found helpful in actual practice and 
should greatly aid new discussion leaders, 
teachers, and students. There are other theo- 
ries about discussion leading and other ways 
of making outlines. These suggestions are made 
to help the untried discussion leader get started. 
He is strongly urged to consult the bibliography 
at the end of the introduction, to observe 
critically other discussion leaders, and, most 
important of all, constantly and critically to 
study his own methods for ways of improving 

1. State the problem or issue clearly. 

The group usually chooses the general area for 
discussion. In preparing his outline the leader should 
state the issue or problem very clearly. This may take 
the form of a question or of a declarative sentence. 
For instance, the group may have decided to discuss 
“Good Propaganda." The leader must find an issue 
in this area. He might choose “Good Propaganda Is 
the Same As Education." In stating the issue remem- 
ber that facts as facts cannot be discussed; only opin- 
ions can be discussed. The best issue is one about 
which the different members of the group have 
strongly conflicting opinions. 

2 . Explore different definitiojis and statements 
of the problem ; add illustrative material. 

Here the leader prepares a brief three or four 
minute introduction showing the basis of the dis- 
cussion, relating it to previous discussions, and indi- 
cating some of the main sub-issues and the limits of 
the discussion. This is presented to the group. In 
preparing his outline he should consider different 
definitions and statements of the problem so that he 
will be ready to meet these when they arise in the 
discussion. For instance, for the illustration given, he 
will want to have at hand several definitions of 
“good," “propaganda," and “education." In the ac- 
tual discussion, however, he should have the group 
prepare its own definitions or see clearly where their 
conflicting definitions differ. He should also have at 
hand illustrations to make the issue more personal 

and meaningful. These are often in the form of ques- 
tions, as “Is all propaganda good? Is propaganda for 
our club good? Is it good for everyone?" etc. 

3. Explore large social or national phases of the 

While personal illustrations are necessary to incite 
interest, the leader should have thought through 
wider implications of the problem in order to keep 
the group from being bogged down by too personal 
considerations of the issue. One of the greatest values 
of discussion is to widen the observations and to 
broaden the thinking of the group. For instance, 
“Does the education in our community differ from 
that in another community in our state? Nation? If 
what we have discussed and defined as ‘good propa- 
ganda’ here is education in our schools, is it ‘good 
propaganda’ and is it ‘education’ in other schools?" 

4. Analyze differences of opinions. 

In preparing the outline, the leader should think 
through as many of the different opinions as possible. 
These, as such, should not be presented to the group, 
but they should be drawn from the members of the 
group by questions and discussion. The thinking of 
the group should be directed toward analyzing and 
clarifying these differences. Above all else, well led 
discussions should teach us to see more clearly where, 
how, and why our opinions differ. For instance, some 
members of the group may feel that no propaganda 
is “good"; others may believe that some propaganda 
can be “good," but that even “good" propaganda and 
education are different; while others may believe 
that “good" propaganda and education are the same. 
In his preliminary study the leader should determine 
as well as possible just where these differences will 
come and their bases. The differences frequently 
arise because we do not define or use words the same 
way. Members of the group should be asked to rede- 
fine their positions clearly, to see that they are talk- 
ing about the same things. 

At this point in the discussion the leader should 
summarize these differences. His task will be much 
easier if in his outline he has given careful attention 
to different opinions. But in the discussion sum- 
mary he must summarize the opinions as expressed 
by the group, although if he believes that other im- 
portant view points have been omitted, he may well 
include these in his summary. 

Here the discussion may be terminated. Its pur- 
pose has been to clarify conflicting opinions about 
the issue. 

If the group wishes to pursue the discussion 
further, the discussion leader should follow his 
summary with a brief statement of some of the 
facts involved in the particular problem, sources 
for locating these, and ways in which these may 
be used. This is the “development of the discus- 



sion,” and its treatment is indicated in steps 
5 to 9- 

5. Accumulate facts. 

One way out of an impasse is to ask for facts. 
Some members may have been making too sweeping 
statements on mere hear-say. In preparing his out- 
line, the leader should secure some facts for the 
problem. For the illustration given above he will 
want to have at hand opinions of recognized stu- 
dents of propaganda and education, some knowl- 
edge of what is taught in our schools and how it is 
taught, some figures about the number of people 
who receive formal education and thus about their 
exposure to what some people call “good” propa- 
ganda. The group should be urged to accumulate 
similar facts. 

6. Verify the facts. 

For the leader this is one of the most difficult 
parts of the discussion. It will be easier if he is 
familiar with sources of information and “authori- 
ties.” These should be indicated in his outline so 
that he can help the members of the group inter- 
pret their facts by asking such questions as, “Who 
collected the facts? For what purpose? When? Where? 
How? Are we justified in using them to support our 

7. Analyze consequences . 

In his outline the leader will want to consider 
some of the consequences of the different points of 
view. When he leads the discussion, he will be better 
prepared to help the members of the group dig be- 
low the surface opposition of views, as expressed, 
to see if there is more potential agreement under- 
neath. For instance, most of the members may love 
America’s tradition of freedom. They may want 
their children’s minds to develop freely and they 
may want them to do their own thinking. The leader 
might guide the discussion away from the “back 
and forth” of argument and counter argument to 
an analysis of the consequences of this and then of 
that solution or opinion. If “good” propaganda is 
education, what effect has this on our educational 
system? On our teaching? etc. The same questions 
.in be asked about other opinions. 

8. Trace differences to differing assumptions. 

After facts have been presented and consequences 
explored, we are ready for a discussion of our dif- 
fering assumptions or philosophies. These should 
have been considered by the leader in his outline. 
This is another way of helping members see why 
they disagree. What assumptions do we hold about 
the goodness and badness of propaganda? About 
the people who are affected by it? About its use by 
teachers? About informal education? etc. Never try 

to get agreement on all points. Narrow the disagree- 
ments, state them sharply and clearly, show how one 
set of assumptions (about the educability of the 
mass of the people, for instance) affect our opinions 
and points of view. 

9. Review the situation on the basis of general 

Opinions have been stated, definitions given, im- 
plications of the problem explored, differences ana- 
lyzed, facts presented, consequences analyzed, and 
assumptions as bases of opinions related to differ- 
ences. Now the leader is ready to summarize the dis- 
cussion, to indicate the chief places where the group 
agreed and where it “agreed to disagree.” 

Here the discussion may be terminated, or it 
may be desirable to continue the discussion for 
the purpose of majority agreement upon one 
solution and the determination of methods for 
putting that solution into practice. In many 
discussions this is neither necessary nor desir- 
able. In other cases, however, there should be a 
willingness, even a demand, to carry over into 
our behavior the conclusion of a discussion. 
This is when what is spoken of more narrowly 
as “action” is demanded. Steps 10 to 12 suggest 
procedure for discussion leading to action. 

10. Choose from the solutions proposed. 

From the various proposals presented the group 
should democratically choose the one it wishes to 

11. Word the solution. 

This may be done by the group as a whole or, 
and usually this is easier, by a committee and re- 
ferred back to the group. 

12. Find icays and means of putting solution 
into practice. 

This calls for realistic discussion of action. 


The suggestions in this introduction and the 
“Suggested Activities and Discussion” follow- 
ing each monthly issue of PROPAGANDA 
ANALYSIS are offered as a bridge between the 
material contained in the letters and the discus- 
sion group. 

The problems of one issue may well be dis- 
cussed at several meetings. If the problem is too 
large for one meeting, the leader may divide it 
into its component parts, and discuss one part 
at each meeting. 



1 . The problem for discussion . 

Study carefully the problem as you face it in your 
own locality, following suggestions made in the dis- 
cussion notes. It may be wise with a new group to 
start discussion with a controversial problem which 
has not already become too emotionalized in the 
community. Use a problem whose discussion will 
reveal the use of propaganda, but not at first one 
which represents a very bitter conflict. 

2. Preparing the group for discussion. 

Discussion is a rather loose word used to cover 
the verbal exchange in all kinds of meetings. In 
many cases the members of the group do not coop- 
erate. They differ but are not effective in clarifying 
their differences. They never quite define the real 

Effective discussion is a new art which must be 
learned slowly and carefully. Only through discus- 
sion and the wholesome sharing of opinions do we 
learn the great educative value of discussion. 

People unused to discussion tend, when opposed 
in their views, to take a rigid either-or attitude. The 
members of the group should consciously avoid this 
and should adopt the attitude which says, “We may 
both be right; but perhaps neither your view nor 
mine is quite broad, fundamental, and inclusive 
enough. Let us seek other views.” 

It may be helpful to remind the group at the be- 
ginning of every meeting that, however important 
the values at stake in the problem to be discussed, 
truth is being sought, accuracy is essential to think- 
ing, and impersonal criticism should be sought and 
listened to receptively. 

If this is done patiently members will more and 
more frequently stop short in their most heated 
arguments and remember that doubt has its place, 
that criticism is good for mental growth. 


If we are to understand propaganda, we must 
catch ourselves using it. There is need for and 
value in critical study and analysis of adver- 

tisements, newspapers, and other channels of 
communication. The danger in such studies is 
that we begin to feel smug and mentally supe- 
rior to the other people who don’t recognize 
propaganda. To offset this danger we need 
more self-criticism. We need a definite planning 
of situations which call forth our own use of 
propaganda. These occur when we find our- 
selves opposed by other members of the group, 
who feel as strongly as we do, but on opposite 
sides of the question. We suddenly find our- 
selves using all the tricks of the propagandists— 
we call the theories which we don’t like “com- 
munist” or “reactionary,” “pacifist” or “mili- 
tary,” without real reference to the meanings of 
these terms. We label the things we like with 
glittering generalities— “democratic,” “private 
enterprise,” “for the good of all,” again without 
defining just what we mean. 

Two methods may be utilized to make special 
use of discussions for study of propaganda: 

1. Two or three members might act as observers 
of the discussion. At the end of the meeting they 
might report the propaganda devices used. 

2. At the most heated part of the discussion, the 
leader can suddenly break in, call for a minute or 
two of silent reflection. The emotionalism and ex- 
aggeration of the proponents will be brought into 
almost comical relief. It will then be highly reveal- 
ing to turn the group’s attention to the situations 
which have caused some members to feel strongly 
on one side of the question and others on other 
sides. This will help explain much about the sources 
and nature of propaganda. 

The fact to underline is that as long as mem- 
bers of the group search for an understanding 
of propaganda and motives used by others, they 
may learn much of value; but they will not see 
the real subtlety of propaganda and propa- 
gandists until they turn the spotlight of critical 
thinking on themselves, their theories, and their 

Minimum Reference Shelf 

T HE annotated bibliography which follows 
suggests a minimum number of the best 
books on propaganda, discussion methods, and 
education for democracy . 1 2 It is planned to as- 
sist the group leader and the group member in 
their study and discussion of propaganda and 
of public opinion. It includes essential books on 
background and method to help the leader ap- 
preciate the significance and far-reaching con- 
sequences of his work. The zvhy is as important 
as the how. 

The most intelligent way to become an ef- 
fective group leader or group member is to 
combine experience with reading. This means 
choosing from the following skeleton lists those 
books, those chapters or pages, which corre- 
spond with the experience one is having as a 
member or a leader of a group. Because there 
are many kinds of groups, various types of dis- 
cussion, and a large number of different diffi- 
culties which confront group study, it is im- 
portant that the leader or member choose the 
book or bulletin which definitely speaks to his 
own difficulties and approach to group work. 


Sumner, William G., Folkways , Ginn & Co., Boston, 
1906. Detailed analyses of the customs, mores, and 
folkways of society. Chapters I and V are especially 
recommended for the student of public opinion. 
Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Inc., 130 Morn- 
ingside Drive, New York City. The Group Lead- 
er's Guide to Propaganda Analysis , 1938. Experi- 
mental study materials for use in high schools, in 
colleges, and in adult study groups; by Violet 

Robinson, J. H., The Mind in the Making , Harper 
8c Bros., New York and London, 1921. A brief, 
simple and clear presentation of the relation of 
intelligence to social reform. 

White, Andrew Dickson, History of the Warfare Be- 
tween Science and Theology in Christendom , Ap- 
pleton, New York, 1910. A classic interpretation 
of a major conflict which for centuries gave rise 
to propaganda in all of its manifestations. Two 

1 Many other references, which should be helpful, are 
suggested in the text of the sixteen letters which make 
up this publication. 

2 See Appendix of The Group Leader's Guide to Propa- 

Doob, Leonard W., Propaganda— Its Psychology and 
Technique, Henry Holt, New York, 1935. Con- 
sideration of propaganda as a means of social con- 
trol, as a method by which individuals or groups 
work for their own interests; and the effect of 
propaganda upon individuals and upon society as 
a whole. 

Lippman, Walter, Public Opinion, Harcourt, Brace 
& Co., New York, 1922. Showing the dependence 
of opinion on prejudice and the factors which 
color judgment. See discussion of the stereotype. 

Lumley, Frederick R., The Propaganda Menace, 
D. Appleton-Century, New York, 1933. A sociolo- 
gist looks at propaganda and at the “definers” of 
propaganda, who disagree as to what is propa- 

Odegard, Peter H., The American Public Mind, Co- 
lumbia University Press, New York, 1930. An easy- 
to-read analysis of public opinion. The eleven 
brief chapters take the “mysticism” out of the 
phrase, “public opinion.” 

National Council for the Social Studies. Seventh 
Yearbook: Education Against Propaganda (Elmer 
Ellis, editor), published by the council at Harvard 
L T niversity, 1937. The implications of propaganda 
for education and particularly for the social studies 
in American schools today. 

Graves, W. Brooks, Readings in Public Opinion ; Its 
Formation and Control, D. Appleton 8c Co., New 
York, 1928. Rich study and discussion material 
concerning the formation and control of public 

Riegel, O. W., Mobilizing for Chaos: The Story of 
the New Propaganda, Yale University Press, New 
Haven, Conn., 1934. A study of the “propaganda 
of nationalism,” particularly in the authoritarian 


Sheffield, A. D., Creative Discussion, Associated Press, 
New York, 1927:1931. Brief statement of what it’s 
all about. This little book will answer the first 
questions of discussion groups. 

Elliott, H. S., The Process of Group Thinking, 
Associated Press, New York, 1928. Complete and 
detailed study of the technique of discussion, full 
of sensible suggestions of what to do and what not 
to do. Especially valuable for group leaders. 


ganda Analysis, 1938 revision of the study materials of 
the Institute for Propaganda .Analysis, for inexpensive 
bulletins concerning discussion methods. 



Walser, Frank, The Art of Conference , Harper 8c 
Bros., New York, 1933. Analysis under twelve 
heads of the technical difficulties of discussion and 
of the use of pauses, and of the ways to deal with 
disagreement. Followed by 100 pages of case 
studies of successful and unsuccessful conferences 
in all fields. 

Fansler, Thomas, Discussion Method for Adult 
Groups , American Association for Adult Educa- 
tion, New York, 1934. A study of discussions that 
were recorded word for word. The critical com- 
ments of the author on what was said contains 
many useful lessons in method. 

Studebaker, John L., The American Way , McGraw- 
Hill, New York, 1935. Describes fruitful discus- 
sion and the principles of democracy at work in 
the Des Moines (Iowa) forums. 

Bowman, LeRoy C., How to Lead a Discussion , The 
Woman’s Press, New York, 1934. Short guide for 
the use of group leaders. Valuable for beginning 

Busch, Henry M., Leadership in Group Work, 
Associated Press, 1934. While this book touches 
only incidentally on discussion, it is of interest 
because it examines many of the basic issues 
underlying all group activity and leadership. 

Ewing, R. L., Methods of Conducting Forums and 
Discussions, Association Press, New York, 1926. 
Useful for leaders. Detailed outlines are given of 
programs and procedures. 


Cartwright, Morse A., Ten Years of Adult Education, 
MacMillan Company, New York, 1935. Abound- 

ing in useful facts and history of adult education. 

Landis, Benson Y., Rural Adult Education , Mac- 
Millan Company, New York, 1933. 

Lindeman, E. C., Social Education, The Republic 
Publishing Company, New York, 1933. An inter- 
pretation of the principles and methods of adult 
education by means of discussion. 

Lindeman, E. C., The Meaning of Adult Education, 
The Republic Publishing Company, New York, 

Dewey, John, How We Think, D. C. Heath and 
Company, New York, 1933. According to Dewey 
the significance of an idea must be judged by its 
practical consequences. 

Clarke, E. L., The Art of Straight Thinking, Apple- 
ton, New York, 1929. An excellent review of the 
difficulties which must be overcome in thinking 
habits if discussion is to be successful. 

Kilpatrick, William H., Education and the Social 
Crisis, Liveright, New York, 1932. The place of 
discussion in the adult education movement, and 
whether education shall lead or follow in the 
process of social change. By one of the leading 
disciples of Dewey. 

Pigors, Paul, Leadership or Domination , Houghton 
Mifflin, New York, 1935. 

Overstreet, Harry A., About Ourselves, Norton. 
New York, 1927. 

Thouless, Robert H., Straight and Crooked. Think- 
ing, Simon 8c Schuster, New York, 1932. Some 
pitfalls in argument and straight thinking, with 
many illustrations of crooked thinking and 
methods of discussion. 


Propaganda Analysis 

A Bulletin to Help the Intelligent Citizen Detect and Analyze Propaganda 



Volume I OCTOBER, 1937 Number 1 


ANALYSIS is a non-profit corporation or- 
ganized for scientific research in methods used 
by propagandists in influencing public opinion. 
It will conduct a continuous survey and analysis 
of propagandas. By objective and scientific scru- 
tiny of the agencies, techniques, and devices 
utilized in the formation of public opinion, it 
will seek to show how to recognize propaganda 
and appraise it. 

The Board of Directors and the Advisory 
Board include: 

Charles A. Beard, American historian, specialist in 
democratic government 

Frank E. Baker, President of Milwaukee State T each- 
ers College 

Percy S. Brown, Good Will Fund 
Hadley Cantril, Associate Professor of Psychology, 
Princeton University 

Edgar Dale, Associate Professor of Education, Ohio 
State University 

Ned H. Dearborn, Dean of the Division of General 
Education, New York University 
Paul Douglas, Professor of Economics, University 
of Chicago 

F. Ernest Johnson, Professor of Education, Teachers 
College, Columbia University 
E. C. Lindeman, Professor of Social Philosophy, New 
York School of Social Work 
Robert S. Lynd, Professor of Sociology, Columbia 

Kirtley Mather, Professor of Geology, Harvard 

Ernest O. Melby, Dean of the School of Education, 
Northwestern University 

Clyde R. Miller, Associate Professor of Education, 
Teachers College, Columbia University 
James T. Shotwell, Professor of History, Columbia 

Robert K. Speer, Professor of Education, New York 

Officers: President, Hadley Cantril; vice president, 
Ernest O. Melby; secretary, Clyde R. Miller; treas- 
urer, Robert K. Speer. 

There is today especial need for propaganda 
analysis. America is beset by a confusion of con- 
flicting propagandas, a Babel of voices, warn- 
ings, charges, counter-charges, assertions, and 
contradictions assailing us continually through 
press, radio, and newsreel. These propagandas 
are disseminated by political parties, labor 
unions, business organizations, farm organiza- 
tions, patriotic societies, churches, schools, and 
other agencies; also by word of mouth by mil- 
lions of individuals. 

If American citizens are to have clear under- 
standing of conditions and what to do about 
them, they must be able to recognize propa- 
ganda, to analyze, and to appraise it. 

But what is propaganda? 

As generally understood, propaganda is ex- 
pression of opinion or action by individuals or 
groups deliberately designed to influence opin- 
ions or actions of other individuals or groups 
ivith reference to predetermined ends. 

Thus propaganda differs from scientific anal- 
ysis. The propagandist is trying to “put some- 
thing across/' good or bad, whereas the scientist 
is trying to discover truth and fact. Often the 
propagandist does not want careful scrutiny and 
criticism; he wants to bring about a specific ac- 
tion. Because the action may be socially bene- 
ficial or socially harmful to millions of people, 
it is necessary to focus upon the propagandist 
and his activities the searchlight of scientific 
scrutiny. Socially desirable propaganda will not 
suffer from such examination, but the opposite 
type will be detected and revealed for what it is. 
Propaganda which concerns us most is that 




which alters public opinion on matters of large 
social consequence often to the detriment of the 
majority of the people. Such propaganda, for 
example, is involved in issues such as these: 
Henry Ford and Tom Girdler should or should 
not recognize the C.I.O.; Hitler and Mussolini 
and many dignitaries of the Catholic Church 
are right or wrong in siding against the Spanish 
loyalists; Japan is right or wrong in attacking 
China; Congress is right or wrong in rejecting 
President Roosevelt’s Supreme Court plan; the 
President is to blame or not to blame for not 
knowing that Supreme Court Justice Black once 
was or was not a member of the Ku Klux Klan; 
“exposure” of Justice Black represents or does 
not represent the interests of persons opposed 
to the New Deal program of social legislation. 

Propaganda and Democracy 

Many opinions or propagandas are highly 
charged with emotion, prejudice, bitterness. 
People make a virtue of defending their own 
opinions or propagandas. Many would deal 
with opinions or propagandas they don’t like 
by suppressing them, by violence, if need be. 

_ But suppression of unpopular opinions or prop- 
agandas is contrary to democratic conceptions 
of government. A heresy or an unpopular prop- 
aganda or opinion may be bad, or good. One 
way to find out is by analysis and classification 
according to types and interests. This way the 
Institute for Propaganda Analysis will follow. 

To deal with propaganda by suppression 
through federal legislation would violate the 
Constitution of the United States. “Congress 
shall make no law respecting an establishment 
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise 
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or 
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably 
to assemble, and to petition the government for 
a redress of grievances.” 

These freedoms are the essence of democracy. 
In terms of them, the Institute will subject 
propagandas to scientific analysis and seek to 
indicate whether they conform or not to Ameri- 
can principles of democracy. 

When does a propaganda co?iform to demo- 
cratic principles ? It conforms when it tends to 
preserve and extend democracy; it is antagonis- 
tic when it undermines or destroys democracy. 

Democracy has four parts, set forth or im- 
plied in the Constitution and federal statutes: 

1. Political— Freedom to vote on public is- 
sues; freedom of press and speech to discuss 
those issues in public gatherings, in press, radio, 
motion pictures, etc. 

2. Economic— Freedom to work and to par- 
ticipate in organizations and discussions to pro- 
mote better working standards and higher liv- 
ing conditions for the people. 

3. Social— Freedom from oppression based on 
theories of superiority or inferiority. 

4. Religious— Freedom of worship, with sep- 
aration of church and state. 

With all of these freedoms are associated re- 
sponsibilities. Thus, with freedom of the press 
goes the responsibility for accuracy in news and 
honesty in editorials. 

Propagandas of those who pay lip service to 
the Constitution, if crystallized in action or law, 
would destroy one or more of these freedoms. 
Propagandas of others would preserve and ex- 
tend these freedoms. These conflicting propa- 
gandas, moreover, divergent as to goals, often 
are similar in phrasing. Note for example the 
similarities in planks in opposing political party 
platforms, such as Socialist and Democratic, 
Communist and Republican; or note the simi- 
larity of labor and anti-labor propagandas. 
Sound analysis is necessary to enable citizens to 
distinguish these often-conflicting propagandas 
and to evaluate them in democratic terms. 

Inseparable from propaganda analysis are 
periodic appraisals of controls over the chan- 
nels through which opinions and propagandas 
flow: press, radio, motion pictures, labor unions, 
business and farm organizations, patriotic soci- 
eties, churches, schools, and political parties. 

What convictions, biases, and interests do 
these channels represent or express? Do these 
channels, by reason of bias, support and dis- 
seminate certain opinions or propagandas, and 
facts and alleged facts relating to them? Are 
other opinions or propagandas opposed by 
means of distortion, false emphasis, or censor- 
ship? The Institute for Propaganda Analysis 
will try to set up standards for appraising chan- 
nels of propaganda as well as analyzing propa- 
ganda itself. It will give particular attention 
to “press agent” releases and “planned news” 
which flood American editorial offices. 

Why are many misled by propaganda antago- 
nistic to democracy ? Few persons have had the 
opportunity to learn how to detect and analyze 
propaganda. Most books on propaganda are for 



the benefit of the propagandist rather than for 
the public. Others are in technical terms under- 
stood only by persons familiar with the nomen- 
clature of psychology and sociology. Further- 
more, most of these treatises deal with propa- 
gandas of the past, not of today. It is today's 
propagandas flowing from today’s conflicts 
which interest and concern us most. For ex- 
ample, analysis of World War propagandas of 
1914-1918 is not as significant today as analysis 
of propagandas preparing perhaps for the next 
World War. Propagandas used by Eugene Debs 
and the employers in the Pullman Strike of 
1894 are not as significant today as those being 
used in 1937 by John Lewis and Homer Martin, 
by Henry Ford and the Johnstown Citizens’ 
Committee. The emphasis which high schools 
and colleges have given to dead issues of yester- 
day to the neglect of the living issues of today 
accounts for the fact that many high school and 
college graduates can be easily misled by anti- 
democratic propaganda. 

What is the chief danger of propaganda? It 
appeals to emotion, and decisions made under 
stress of emotion often lead to disaster when the 
emotion crowds out cool, dispassionate thought. 

Students and teachers especially should know 
how to deal with propaganda unemotionally. 

Approximately sixteen million young people 
between the ages of fourteen and twenty in the 
next seven years will become voters. As such 
they will decide issues affecting every aspect of 
democratic freedom— political, economic, social, 
and religious. They cannot wait until they are 
twenty-one to learn how to decide issues unemo- 
tionally, critically, thoughtfully. They must be 
learning now how to avoid decisions antago- 
nistic to democracy. 

Do most Americans believe students should 
analyze propaganda ? Yes. Dr. George Gallup, 
director of the American Institute of Public 
Opinion, in May 1936, polled the nation on the 
question: “Should schools teach the facts about 
all forms of government including Commu- 
nism, Fascism and Socialism?” Dr. Gallup’s 
findings were: “Sixty-two per cent of the voters 
say the schools should teach the facts about all 
forms of government including Communism, 
Fascism and Socialism. Thirty-eight per cent say 
the schools should not teach those facts.” It fol- 
lows logically that teaching the facts involves 
careful scrutiny of the conflicting propagandas 
allegedly based on “the facts.” 

Do teachers think analysis of propaganda 
should be taught? Yes. In August 1937, several 
professors at Teachers College, Columbia Uni- 
versity and the School of Education of New 
York University collaborated on a survey of 
teacher opinion with regard to propaganda 
analysis by students in high schools and col- 
leges. They put the question to 500 teachers 
representing all states in the union and all types 
of schools. Ninety-eight per cent advocated a 
critical study in the schools of propaganda 
which would help prepare young people to 
function as intelligent citizens in discussing and 
voting on controversial issues; they said that 
in treating such issues in the school, teaching 
pupils how to think is more important than 
teaching them what to think. 

Will schools participate in propaganda anal- 
ysis? Yes. Study units on how to detect and 
analyze propaganda will be used this year in 
Horace Mann and Lincoln Schools of Teachers 
College, Columbia University; in the Public 
Schools of Bronxville and Gloversville, New 
York; in Rock Island, Illinois and Newton, 
Massachusetts; in the State Teachers College at 
Milwaukee; and in the University High School, 
Northwestern University. These study units will 
be made available to schools receiving Propa- 
ganda Analysis. 

Is there recognition of the need to analyze 
facts, alleged facts, opinions, propaganda? Yes. 
It is implied in the public forum movement; 
in privately circulated letters for business men 
prepared by such as the Kiplinger Washington 
Agency, the Whaley-Eaton Service, Harland 
Allen; in the New York Herald-Tribune An- 
nual Forum on Current Problems; in various 
college conferences on economics, politics, and 
world issues; in recent editorials of the New 
York Times (Sept. 1, 1937) and Springfield 
Republican (Sept. 3, 1937); in the reports and 
programs of the Foreign Policy Association, in 
the privately circulated reports of Consumers 
Union; in the programs and addresses of edu- 
cators, clergymen, and editors at the Williams- 
town Institute of Human Relations arranged 
by the National Conference of Jews and Chris- 
tians; and in various radio programs including 
the University of Chicago Round Table and the 
Town Meeting of the Air. H. G. Wells included 
the study of propaganda in his blue print of a 
new system of education before the 1937 meet- 
ing of the British Association for the Advance- 



merit of Science, (New York Times, Sept. 5, 
1937). All persons, according to his blue print, 
should study propaganda and advertising meth- 
ods as a corrective to newspaper reading. 

“Free propaganda,” wrote the Springfield 
Republican, Sept. 3, 1937, “is nothing but free 
publicity for the views, interpretations, argu- 
ments, pleadings, truths and untruths, half-lies 
and lies of all creation. Propaganda is good as 
well as bad. AVe are surrounded by clouds of 
propaganda.’ ... It is up to each of us to pre- 
cipitate from those clouds the true and the false, 
the near-true and the near-false, identifying and 
giving to each classification its correct label.” 

In line with the foregoing opinions the Insti- 
tute, by methods of education and scientific 
research, will help the intelligent citizen detect 
and analyze propaganda so that he may form 
his own judgment as to what is good and bad. 

The Institute’s second letter, to be issued 
November 1, will set forth the devices most 
commonly used by propagandists and will illus- 
trate these with examples of propagandas taken 
from current newspapers and magazines. Knowl- 
edge of these devices enables the intelligent citi- 
zen to detect much propaganda easily, some of 
its instantaneously. By applying simple checks 
much of it can be classified as conforming to or 
antagonistic to democratic principles. 

How will the Institute be financed? Money 
to begin its work has been given by the Good 
Will Fund, Inc., a charitable corporation fi- 
nanced by the late Edward A. Filene. It is hoped 
that eventually the Institute will be self-sup- 
porting. Income from the sale of its letters and 
donations from organizations and individuals 
will be used to increase the scope of its research 
and to permit it to issue special letters or bul- 
letins when occasions warrant— occasions such 

as tense political conflicts, great strikes, threats 
of war. 

The Institute invites intelligent citizens to 
subscribe to its monthly letter. The cost is $2.00 
a year. A subscription card is inclosed. Many 
may desire to make Propaganda Analysis avail- 
able to local high school and college students by 
having the monthly letter sent to teachers of 
social science, English, and journalism. 

A Final Word 

The Institute does not have all the answers; 
it lays no claim to infallibility. It will try to be 
scientific, objective, and accurate. If it makes 
mistakes, it will acknowledge them. It asks those 
who receive its letters to check its work; also to 
cooperate with it by supplying documented evi- 
dence on the sources of propaganda, and of 
censorship or distortion of essential news in 
press, radio, and newsreels. Chiefly the Institute 
will try to acquaint its subscribers with methods 
whereby they may become proficient in making 
their own analyses . 

The charter of the Institute, under which it 
is organized as a non-profit corporation, con- 
tains the following statement of its purposes: 
“To assist the public in detecting and analyzing 
propaganda by conducting scientific research 
and education in the methods by which public 
opinion is influenced, by the analysis of propa- 
ganda methods and devices, and by the distri- 
bution of reports thereon. 

“It shall not be within the purposes or powers 
of the corporation to engage in propaganda or 
otherwise attempt to influence legislation and 
the corporation shall not, either as one of its 
purposes or as a means of furthering any of 
its purposes, engage in propaganda or other- 
wise attempt to influence legislation.” 


1. Ask various people how they would define be stopped? What would a dictator do in this re- 

“propaganda.” Try to secure as many definitions as spect? What should a democracy do? 

possible. Don’t consult a dictionary, simply get per- 6. Some people see in the free flow of propagandas 
sonal opinions and theories. Have the group discuss the danger of confusion and division in a democracy, 

these definitions and build its own definition. Do Do you think these negative effects are present? If so, 

you accept the definition printed in the first issue of can they be prevented? How? 

Propaganda Analysis ? 7. What are we doing in our own communities 

2. Why is propaganda effective? to counteract some of the negative effects of propa- 

3. Is there any “good” propaganda or is all propa- ganda? Could we do more? Should we do more? 

ganda “bad” ? 8. What are the best ways to help people think 

4. Should the Government stop “bad” propa- critically? Does our modern education use these 

ganda? methods? 

5. Who should decide which propaganda should 9. What makes people think the way they do? 

Volume I 


Number 2 

How to Detect Propaganda 

\ A 7E ARE fooled by propaganda chiefly be- 
V V cause we don’t recognize it when we see it. 
It may be fun to be fooled but, as the cigarette 
ads used to say, it is more fun to know. We can 
more easily recognize propaganda when we see 
it if we are familiar with the seven common 
propaganda devices. These are: 

1. The Name Calling Device 

2. The Glittering Generalities Device 

3. The Transler Device 

4. T he Testimonial Device 

5. The Plain Folks Device 

6. The Card Stacking Device 

7. The Band Wagon Device 

Why are we fooled by these devices? Because 
they appeal to our emotions rather than to our 
reason. They make us believe and do something 
we would not believe or do if we thought about 
it calmly, dispassionately. In examining these 
devices, note that they work most effectively at 
those times when we are too lazy to think for 
ourselves; also, they tie into emotions which 
sway us to be “for” or “against” nations, races, 
religions, ideals, economic and political policies 
and practices, and so on through automobiles, 
cigarettes, radios, toothpastes, presidents, and 
wars. With our emotions stirred, it may be fun 
to be fooled by these propaganda devices, but it 
is more fun and infinitely more to our own in- 
terests to know how they work. 

Lincoln must have had in mind citizens who 
could balance their emotions with intelligence 
when h^ made his remark: . . but you can’t 
fool ajl of the people all of the time.” 

Name Calling 

“Name Calling” is a device to make us form a 
judgment without examining the evidence on 
which it should be based. Here the propagandist 
appeals to our hate and fear. He does this by 
giving“bad names” to those individuals, groups, 
nations, races, policies, practices, beliefs, and 
ideals which he would have us condemn and 
reject. For centuries the name “heretic” was 
bad. Thousands were oppressed, tortured, or 
put to death as heretics. Anybody who dissented 

from popular or group belief or practice was in 
danger of being called a heretic. In the light of 
today’s knowledge, some heresies were bad and 
some were good. Many of the pioneers of mod- 
ern science were called heretics; witness the 
cases of Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno. (See “A 
History of the Warfare of Science with Theol- 
ogy,” Andrew Dickson White, D. Appleton 8c 
Co.) Today’s bad names include: Fascist, dema- 
gogue, dictator. Red, financial oligarchy, Com- 
munist, muck-raker, alien, outside agitator, eco- 
nomic royalist, Utopian, rabble-rouser, trouble- 
maker, Tory, Constitution wrecker. 

“Al” Smith called Roosevelt a Communist by 
implication when he said in his Liberty League 
speech, “There can be only one capital, Wash- 
ington or Moscow.” When “Al” Smith was run- 
ning for die presidency many called him a tool 
of die Pope, saying in effect, “We must choose 
between Washington and Rome.” That implied 
that Mr. Smith, if elected President, would take 
his orders from the Pope. Recently, Mr. Justice 
Hugo Black has been associated with a bad 
name, Ku Klux Klan. In these cases some propa- 
gandists have tried to make us form judgments 
without examining essential evidence and im- 
plications. “Al Smith is a Catholic. He must 
never be President.” “Roosevelt is a Red. Defeat 
his program.” “Hugo Black is or was a Klans- 
man. Take him out of the Supreme Court.” 

Use of “bad names” without presentation of 
their essential meaning, without all their perti- 
nent implications, comprises perhaps the most 
common of all propaganda devices. Those who 
want to maintain the status quo apply bad 
names to those who would change it. For ex- 
ample, the Hearst press applies bad names to 
Communists and Socialists. Those who want to 
change the status quo apply bad names to those 
who would maintain it. For example, the Daily 
Worker and the American Guardian apply bad 
names to conservative Republicans and Demo- 

Glittering Generalities 

“Glittering Generalities” is a device by which 
the propagandist identifies his program with 




virtue by use of “virtue words.” Here he appeals 
to our emotions of love, generosity, and brother- 
hood. He uses words like truth, freedom, honor, 
liberty, social justice, public service, the right 
to work, loyalty, progress, democracy, the Amer- 
ican way. Constitution defender. These words 
suggest shining ideals. All persons of good will 
believe in these ideals. Hence the propagandist, 
by identifying his individual group, nation, 
race, policy, practice, or belief with such ideals, 
seeks to win us to his cause. As Name Calling is 
a device to make us form a judgment to reject 
and condemn , without examining the evidence, 
Glittering Generalities is a device to make us 
accept and approve , without examining the 

For example, use of the phrases, “the right 
to work” and “social justice” may be a device to 
make us accept programs for meeting the labor- 
capital problem which, if we examined them 
critically, we would not accept at all. 

In the Name Calling and Glittering Gen- 
eralities devices, words are used to stir up our 
emotions and to befog our thinking. In on£ 
device “bad words” are used to make us mad;^n 
the other “good words” are used to make us^ 
glad. (See “The Tyranny of Words,” by Stuart 
Chase, in Harpers Magazine for November, 

*93 70 

The propagandist is most effective in use of 
these devices when his words make us create 
devils to fight or gods to adore. By his use of the 
“bad words,” we personify as a “devil” some 
nation, race, group, individual, policy, practice, 
or ideal; we are made fighting mad to destroy it. 
By use of “good words,” we personify as a god- 
like idol some nation, race, group, etc. Words 
which are “bad” to some are “good” to others^ 
or may be made so. Thus, to some the New Deal 
is “a prophecy of social salvation” while to 
others it is “an omen of social disaster.” 

From consideration of names, “bad” and 
“good,” we pass to institutions and symbols, 
also “bad” and “good.” We see these in the next 

T ransfer 

“Transfer” is a device by which the propa- 
gandist carries over the authority, sanction, and 
prestige of something we respect and revere to 
something he would have us accept. For ex- 
ample, most of us respect and revere our church 
and our nation. If the propagandist succeeds in 
getting church or nation to approve a campaign 

in behalf of some program, he thereby transfers 
its authority, sanction, and prestige to that pro- 
gram. Thus we may accept something which 
otherwise we might reject. 

In the Transfer device symbols are constantly 
used. The cross represents the Christian Church. 
The flag represents the nation. Cartoons like 
Uncle Sam represent a consensus of public opin- 
ion. Those symbols stir emotions. At their very 
sight, with the speed of light, is aroused the 
whole complex of feelings we have with respect 
to church or nation. A cartoonist by having 
Uncle Sam disapprove a budget for unemploy- 
ment relief would have us feel that the whole 
United States disapproves relief costs. By draw- 
ing an Uncle Sam who approves the same 
budget, the cartoonist would have us feel that 
the American people approve it. Thus, the 
Transfer device is used both for and against 
causes and ideas. 


The “Testimonial” is a device to make us 
accept anything from a patent medicine or a 
cigarette to a program of national policy. In 
this device the propagandist makes use of testi- 
monials. “When I feel tired, I smoke a Camel 
and get the grandest ‘lift/ ” “We believe the 
John Lewis plan of labor organization is splen- 
did; C. I. O. should be supported.” This device 
works in reverse also; counter-testimonials may 
be employed. Seldom are these used against 
commercial products like patent medicines and 
cigarettes, but they are constantly employed in 
social, economic, and political issues. “We be- 
lieve that the John Lewis plan of labor organi- 
zation is bad; C. I. O. should not be supported.” 

Plain Folks 

“Plain Folks” is a device used by politicians, 
labor leaders, business men, and even by minis- 
ters and educators to win our confidence by 
appearing to be people like ourselves— “just 
plain folks among the neighbors.” In election 
years especially do candidates show their devo- 
tion to little children and the common, homey 
things of life. They have front porch campaigns. 
For the newspaper men they raid the kitchen 
cupboard, finding there some of the good wife’s 
apple pie. They go to country picnics; they at- 
tend service at the old frame church; they pitch 
hay and go fishing; they show their belief in 
home and mother. In short, they would win our 



votes by showing that they’re just as common as 
the rest of us— “just plain folks,’’— and, there- 
fore, wise and good. Business men often are 
“plain folks” with the factory hands. Even dis- 
tillers use the device. “It’s our family’s whiskey, 
neighbor; and neighbor, it’s your price.” 

Card Stacking 

“Card Stacking” is a device in which the 
propagandist employs all the arts of deception 
to win our support for himself, his group, na- 
tion, race, policy, practice, belief or ideal. He 
stacks the cards against the truth. He uses under- 
emphasis and over-emphasis to dodge issues and 
evade facts. He resorts to lies, censorship, and 
distortion. He omits facts. He offers false testi- 
mony. He creates a smoke-screen of clamor by 
raising a new issue when he wants an embarrass- 
ing matter forgotten. He draws a red herring 
across the trail to confuse and divert those in 
quest of facts he does not want revealed. He 
makes the unreal appear real and the real ap- 
pear unreal. He lets half-truth masquerade as 
truth. By the Card Stacking device, a mediocre 
candidate, through the “build-up,” is made to 
appear an intellectual titan; an ordinary prize 
fighter a probable world champion; a worthless 
patent medicine a beneficent cure. By means of 
this device propagandists would convince us 
that a ruthless war of aggression is a crusade 
for righteousness. Some member nations of the 
Non-Intervention Committee send their troops 
to intervene in Spain. Card Stacking employs 
sham, hypocrisy, effrontery. 

The Band Wagon 

The “Band Wagon” is a device to make us 
follow the crowd, to accept the propagandist’s 
program en masse. Here his theme is: “Every- 
body’s doing it.” His techniques range from 
those of medicine show to dramatic spectacle. 
He hires a hall, fills a great stadium, marches a 
million men in parade. He employs symbols, 
colors, music, movement, all the dramatic arts. 
He appeals to the desire, common to most of us, 
to “follow the crowd.” Because he wants us to 
“follow the crowd” in masses, he directs his 
appeal to groups held together by common ties 
of nationality, religion, race, environment, sex, 
vocation. Thus propagandists campaigning for 
or against a program will appeal to us as Catho- 
lics, Protestants, or Jews; as members of the 
Nordic race or as Negroes; as farmers or as 

school teachers; as housewives or as miners. All 
the artifices of flattery are used to harness the 
fears and hatreds, prejudices, and biases, convic- 
tions and ideals common to the group; thus 
emotion is made to push and pull the group on 
to the Band Wagon. In newspaper articles and 
in the spoken word this device is also found. 
“Don’t throw your vote away. Vote for our 
candidate. He’s sure to win.” Nearly every can- 
didate wins in every election— before the votes 
are in. 

Propaganda and Emotion 

Observe that in all these devices our emotion 
is the stuff with which propagandists work. 
Without it they are helpless; with it, harnessing 
it to their purposes, they can make us glow with 
pride or burn with hatred, they can make us 
zealots in behalf of the program they espouse. 
As we said in our first letter, propaganda as 
generally understood is expression of opinion 
or action by individuals or groups with refer- 
ence to predetermined ends. Without the ap- 
peal to our emotion— to our fears and to our 
courage, to our selfishness and unselfishness, to 
our loves and to our hates— propagandists would 
influence few opinions and few actions. 

To say this is not to condemn emotion, an 
essential part of life, or to assert that all pre- 
determined ends of propagandists are “bad.” 
What we mean is that the intelligent citizen 
does not want propagandists to utilize his emp- 
tions, even to the attainment of “go^cf” ends, 
without knowing what is going ottf FI§ (foes not 
want to be “used” in the'&ffeinment qf ends he 
may later consider “bad.” He does not want to 
be gullible. He does not want to be fooled. He 
does not want to be duped, even in a “good” 
cause. He wants to know the facts and among 
these is included the fact of the utilization of 
his emotions.;^, 

For better understanding of the relationship 
between propaganda and emotion see Ch. 1 of 
Folkways by William Graham Sumner (Ginn 
and Company). This shows why most of us tend 
to feel, believe, and act in traditional patterns. 
See also Mind in the Making by James Harvey 
Robinson (Harper Bros.). This reveals the na- 
ture of the mind and suggests how to analyze 
propaganda appealing to traditional thought 

Keeping in mind the seven common propa- 
ganda devices, turn to today’s newspapers and 
almost immediately you can spot examples of 



them all. At election time or during any cam- 
paign, Plain Folks and Band Wagon are com- 
mon. Card Stacking is hardest to detect because 
it is adroitly executed or because we lack the 
information necessary to nail the lie. A little 
practice with the daily newspapers in detecting 
these propaganda devices soon enables us to de- 
tect them elsewhere— in radio, news-reel, books, 
magazines, and in expression of labor unions, 
business groups, churches, schools, political 

Our December letter will suggest some propa- 
ganda tests and antidotes. 


Much comment followed announcement in 
October of the Institute for Propaganda Analy- 
sis-some favorable, some unfavorable. Largest 

responses came from business men, lawyers, 
educators, students, ministers. Many empha- 
sized the staggering task we had undertaken, 
questioned our ability to perform it. Our reply: 
the task is staggering, too difficult for any one 
group no matter how hard it tries to be fair, 
scientific, objective. We cannot hope to do a 
one hundred per cent job. The Institute does 
not have all the answers; it lays no claim to in- 
fallibility. We don’t propose to tell our sub- 
scribers iv hat to think; we aim to help them and 
to help ourselves learn how to think. In this 
effort we put our faith in the method of analysis. 
Using analysis we and our subscribers will make 
fewer mistakes, will be fooled less frequently, 
will learn better how to see our way through the 
confusion of propagandas and counter-propa- 
gandas. Over and above, we should have a good 
time, because it is “more fun to know ” 


1. Cut out a number of advertisements and po- 
litical speeches; paste them in a work-book; and 
note in the margin the propaganda devices used. 

2. Using propaganda devices, make a number of 
speeches before the group. Ask the other members 
of the group to make notes of the propaganda de- 
vices used and to discuss them later. 

3. Deliver the same speech, first in a monotone, 
then with all the available skill and power of in- 
nuendo and feeling. Discuss the different effects on 
the listener. 

4. Attend a public political speech, and after- 
wards ask the speaker the meaning of some of his 
w r ords which may have been used, consciously or un- 
consciously, as propaganda devices. 

5. All the members of the group might attend a 
political meeting or listen to the same radio ad- 
dress; then compare the interpretation each mem- 
ber has of the speech. Consider what factors cause 
the differences in interpretation. 

6. Get into a discussion over some emotionalized, 
controversial subject. Ask a friend to help you catch 
yourself using one or more of the seven propaganda 

7. Discuss the propaganda aspects of advertising. 
Is there a difference between propaganda advertising 
and informative advertising? 

8. What are some of the best ways of learning 
how to buy more intelligently? Are these methods 
taught in schools and colleges? Could they be im- 

9. How can a study of propaganda help us buy 
more intelligently? 

10. Why do large businesses like a telephone com- 
pany or a milk concern, which have a monopoly or a 
concession, continue to advertise? 

11. Is it possible to use any of the seven propa- 
ganda devices in a “right'’ way? For “good” and 
“useful” purposes? 

Volume 1 


Number 3 

Some ABC’s of Propaganda Analysis 

O N NOVEMBER ioth the New York Her- 
ald Tribune printed letters from various 
readers expressing opinions about the proposed 
visit of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to 

Intentionally or unintentionally the writers 
of these letters used two of the common propa- 
ganda devices listed in our November letter: 
Name Calling and Glittering Generalities. 1 Nor 
are these devices illustrated only in the argu- 
ments for and against the Windsors* proposed 
visit to America; they may also be observed in 
statements and counter-statements about other 
items in the recent news; for example, Italy’s 
pact with Japan and Germany “to fight Com- 
munism” with an implied challenge to the 
traditional South American policy of the United 
States; the Brussels Conference to end Japan’s 
war on China; Hitler’s independent efforts to 
mediate in the same war; the special session of 
Congress with its arguments for and against 
proposed measures dealing with wages and 
hours, child labor, crop control, reorganization 
of the Federal Government, budget, relief, and 
foreign policy. 

Not only will subscribers have found the var- 
ious propaganda devices illustrated in discus- 
sion arising from these events, but they will 
have recognized that all the events mentioned 
have one thing in common, namely conflict. 
The point brings us to some A B C’s of Propa- 
ganda Analysis: 

First: All propaganda is associated with con- 
flict in some form — either as cause, or as effect, 
or as both cause and effect. 

Second: If we check our own opinions with 
respect to conflicts about which we feel strongly 
— on which we take sides — we see the direction 
of our own propagandas or opinions. 

Third: Propaganda which concerns us most 
is today's propaganda associated with today's 
conflicts. It affects our incomes, our businesses, 
our working conditions, our health, our educa- 

1 These devices, it will be remembered, are: Name Call- 
ing, Glittering Generalities, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain 
Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon. 

tion, our rights and responsibilities in fields 
political, economic, social, and religious. 

Fourth: Our own opinions, even with respect 
to today’s propagandas, have been largely de- 
termined for us by inheritance and environ- 
ment. We are born white or black, Jewish or 
Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, rich or poor. 
We have been reared in urban or rural com- 
munities, North or South, East or West. Our 
parents have been devout believers, ardent free- 
thinkers, or indifferent to religious doctrine. 
Our beliefs and actions mirror the conditioning 
influences of home and neighborhood, church 
and school, vocation and political party. We 
resemble those whose inheritance and environ- 
ment are similar to ours; we are bound to them 
by ties of common experience. We tend to re- 
spond favorably to their opinions and propa- 
gandas because they are “our kind of people.” 
We tend to distrust the opinions of those who 
differ from us in inheritance and environment. 
Only drastic changes in our life conditions, 
with new and different experiences, associa- 
tions, and influences can offset or cancel out the 
effect of inheritance and long years of environ- 

Fifth: A fundamental step in propaganda 
analysis, therefore, is to analyze ourselves, to 
make clear why we act and believe as we do 
with respect to various conflicts and issues — 
political, economic, social, and religious. Do 
we believe and act as we do because we are Jews, 
Protestants, Catholics; because our fathers were 
strong Republicans or lifelong Democrats; be- 
cause our parents were Methodists or Seventh 
Day Adventists; because our fathers belonged 
to labor unions; because our fathers were em- 
ployers who fought labor unions? 

Sixth: The most effective way to deal with 
propaganda, once we recognize it, is to suspetid 
our judgment until we obtain essential facts 
and implications involved in the propaganda . 
We must ask: Who is the propagandist? Is he 
consciously and intentionally trying to influ- 
ence our thoughts and actions? For what pur- 
pose does he use the common propaganda 
devices? How does he use words and symbols? 




What are their exact meanings? What do they 
mean to the propagandist? What do they mean 
to us? What are the propagandist’s interests? 
Do his interests coincide with the interests of 
most citizens? 

Seventh: The fact that some words are omni- 
bus words makes many the easy dupes of propa- 
gandists. Omnibus words are words extraor- 
dinarily difficult to define. They carry all 
meanings to all men. Therefore, the best test 
for the factual content of propaganda lies in 
specific, concrete definition of the words and 
symbols used by the propagandist. Moreover, 
sharp definition is the best antidote against 
words and symbols carrying a high charge of 
emotion. Such a test is discussed in “As I View 
the Thing,” a column by Sam Tucker in the 
Decatur Herald, Decatur, Illinois, October 29, 
1937, fr° m which the following extracts are 
quoted: 2 

“ORATORY IS THE ART of making pleas- 
ant sounds, which cause the hearers to say ‘Yes, 
Yes’ in sympathy with the performer, without 
inquiring too closely exactly what he means. 
Nearly all so-called political debate is oratory, 
by this unflattering definition. So also, I am 
compelled to admit, are nearly all newspaper 
editorials, most of the lectures on economics, 
and most sermons. 

“Let us, just as a laboratory experiment, and 
not for any practical purpose — far less, for any 
purpose of discrediting the speakers — examine 
two typical paragraphs, from two recent politi- 
cal speeches. . . . 

specimen no. 1 

“Liberty and freedom should mean a fair distri- 
bution of the rewards of production and should 
prevent an unhealthy concentration of wealth and 
economic power in individual hands or government. 


“True liberalism does not start as an economic 
system. An economic system flows from it. The only 
economic system which will not destroy intellectual 
and spiritual freedom is private enterprise, regu- 
lated to prevent special privilege or coercion. 

“The first word is ‘liberty.’ Tell me, please, 
exactly what liberty is. Where does it begin, 
and where does it leave off? And while you are 
working at this problem, notice please the sec- 
ond noun in the sentence: ‘freedom.’ Presum- 

2 As this letter goes to press, the staff of the Institute does 
not know whose oratory Mr. Tucker is quoting. 

ably it means something different from ‘liberty,’ 
because our great political leader would not 
have considered it necessary to couple the two 
if they meant the same thing. . . . 

“After you have worked out these definitions, 
I invite you to look back again at the two quo- 
tations from the Great Minds. There are a lot 
of further questions I have for you. What is a 
‘fair distribution’? Does it mean the same thing 
to you as to your housemaid, your hired man, 
or die machine operator in your factory? What 
are the ‘rewards of production’? Again, I want 
you to be definite, not furry. How much con- 
centration of wealth is an ‘unhealthy’ concen- 
tration? What is ‘government’? If you think 
that last is easy, I will undertake to give you a 
bad half-hour in conversation. 

“In the Specimen No. 2, following the same 
stern effort to get at some real kernel of mean- 
ing, under rank flowering jungle of verbiage, I 
want to know your definition of ‘liberalism,’ 
and of ‘economic system.’ I invite you to set 
down in specific terms on paper, in firm, solid 
terms a plain man can understand, what dis- 
tinction you make between ‘intellectual and 
spiritual freedom,’ as the words are used by the 
speaker. Tell me what, exactly, is ‘private enter- 
prise.’ Does a man who runs a tavern, selling 
liquor to minors, operate a ‘private enterprise’? 

“Perhaps you will be able to do better with 
all these problems than I can. Sincerely I hope 
so. For the fact is, that after earnest study of 
these sonorous examples of oratory, substitut- 
ing the word ‘blah’ for every well-sounding 
word I cannot turn into a firm meaning, I get 
this translation of two famous speeches: 

NO. 1 

“Blah and Blah should mean a Blah-blah of the 
blah of blah, and should prevent an blahy blah of 
blah and blah power in individual hands or blah. 

NO. 2 

“True blah does not start as a blah blah. A blah 
blah flows from it. The only blah blah which will 
not destroy blah and blah blah is blah-blah, regu- 
lated to pfevent blah-blah or blah. 

“If either speech contains any more precise 
meaning than that, you’ll have to prove it, and 
then you’ll have to prove that the meaning you 
read into it carried into the intelligence of any- 
body else, beside yourself.” 

While Mr. Tucker gives his points humorous 


1 1 

emphasis characterized by what some readers 
would call hyperbole, his tests and antidotes 
none the less will be recognized by our subscrib- 
ers as having particular application to the prop- 
aganda devices of Name Calling, Glittering 
Generalities, and Transfer . 8 The process ap- 
plies, however, to all the seven common propa- 
ganda devices. Not only must we define the 
meanings of words, phrases, slogans, and sym- 
bols, but we must check the facts and alleged 
facts, as well as omission of facts and distortion 
of facts found in Card Stacking. Especially 
must we be critical of our own emotions and 
feelings when we recognize the Plain Folks and 
Band Wagon devices. It may be that the propa- 
gandist gives us all essential facts and implica- 
tions; it may be that he makes his words specify 
clearly things which mean the same thing to 
persons of widely varying characteristics and 
environment. That is something for our analy- 
sis to determine.Crhe analysis must include 
ourselves, the propagandist, and the words, 
symbols, facts, and alleged facts with which the 
propagandist deals. The process is not easy. It 
is made easier by readings suggested^frFbfiir 
November letter: Chapter One of Folkways by 
William Graham Sumner, and The Mind in 
the Making by James Harvey Robinson. 

Professors Sumner and Robinson show why 
we act and believe as we do, why we react to 
propaganda, why the common propaganda de- 
vices are effective unless checked by our critical 
thinking. They reveal basic principles of prop- 
aganda analysis. For example, out of a back- 
ground of anthropology and history they show: 

First: We are creatures of custom, habit, tra- 
dition, folkways. “Custom regulates the whole 
of man’s actions.” We cling to the example of 
our predecessors; hence the effectiveness of the 
propagandist’s appeal to traditional ways of 
believing and acting. 

Second: Groups having much in common by 
reason of inheritance and environment (Sum- 
ner’s “we-groups”) think their own ways of 
acting and believing the only “right ways.” 
They praise their own folkways (Glittering 
Generalities, Transfer, Plain Folks, Band 
Wagon) and apply bad names and symbols to 
the ways of others (Name Calling, Transfer). 

Disagreement with a we-group's accepted 

ways of acting and thinking is heresy, an evil 
to be condemned and punished. Most propa- 
gandas are associated with conflicts arising from 
dissent from accepted ways of acting and believ- 
ing in spheres political, economic, social, and 

Third: Many accepted ways and beliefs take 
on a glamour of sentiment or pathos, a large 
emotional element which makes them appear 
impregnable to examination and criticism. Ex- 
amples: mother-love, homeland, democracy, 
patriotism. Some propagandists take advantage 
of this as may be seen, for instance, in Mother’s 
Day and the commercial uses to which it is put. 

Fourth : Language is largely an emotional 
outlet, as we observe in Name Calling and 
Glittering Generalities, “corresponding to var- 
ious cooings, growlings, snarls, crowings, and 
bravings.” Test your newspaper columnists for 
bad names and for such “snarls, brayings, coo- 
ings,” and Glittering Generalities. Are these 
used by Westbrook Pegler, Hugh S. Johnson, 
Dorothy Thompson, Walter Lippmann, Hey- 
wood Broun, Paul B. Mallon, Walter Winchell, 
and O. O. McIntyre? 

Fifth: The best way to deal with propaganda 
whether it be expressed in action, symbols, or 
words is to criticize and analyze it. Analysis 
aids in explaining our responses to propaganda 
devices; it reveals the strategy of the propa- 
gandist. It is at once a test and an antidote. It 
operates immediately to make us suspend judg- 
ment until we can form a judgment on a 
broader basis of facts. Thus it is a test which 
materially aids in showing whether or not a 
particular propaganda conforms to or is antag- 
onistic to the specific freedoms and responsi- 
bilities listed or suggested in our October letter. 
If we accept them as a standard for measure- 
ment, analysis is an antidote to protect us 
against propagandas antagonistic to them. 

To sum up, the citizen who questions and 
challenges propaganda will deal with it bv 
analysis. He knows that words and symbols 
often are intoxicants, to make us mad or glad, 
to put us in a towering rage or a rosy glow. He 
will subject omnibus words to sharp definition. 
He will ask: “What do these words and symbols 
mean? What do they mean to the propagan- 
dist? What would the propagandist have them 

3 See also: Stuart Chase, “The Tyranny of Words,” Har- 
pers Magazine , November, 1937; Kenneth Burke, “Read- 
ing While You Run,” The New Republic, November. 

1937; Arthur Schopenhauer, Essay on the Art of Contro- 
versy; Thurman W. Arnold. The Symbols of Government 
and The Folklore of Capitalism. 



mean to me? Who is the propagandist? What 
are his purposes and his interests? Do his inter- 
ests correspond with my interests? Do they cor- 
respond with the interests of most citizens?” 
The intelligent citizen will not do something 
because “everybody’s doing it” (Band Wagon). 
He will be aware of the tendency on the part of 
participants in a crowd to let their enthusiasm 
run away with their judgment. Professor Sum- 
ner says that the educated man, “if he is wise, 
just when a crowd is filled with enthusiasms 
and emotion, will leave it . . . and form his own 


1. Let two members of the group deliver almost 
the same speech. One should use forceful generaliza- 
tions, with emphasis on appeal to feelings. The 
other should emphasize accuracy and facts, with ap- 
peal to thought. Discuss comparative values of these 
two types of speeches. 

2. Arrange for the group to attend a public meet- 
ing or to listen to the same radio address. Assign to 
some members of the group the responsibility of 
systematically noting all the “blah” words used (the 
vague, indefinite words appealing to feelings). Dis- 
cuss these words in the group. Examine their mean- 

3. Make a “Blah” Dictionary based on the group’s 
discussion of the meanings of the words studied in 
Question 2 and of other words submitted by the 
group. Such words as the following might be in- 
cluded: “communist,” “red,” “queer,” “American- 
ism,” “racket,” “revolutionary,” “fascist,” “economic 
royalist,” “tory,” “conservative,” “reactionary,” 
“dealers in death,” etc. Distribute copies of this Dic- 
tionary before attending the next big political 


Many readers have asked for a list of books 
on propaganda. We prefer to recommend only 
a book or two at a time. A basic book is Propa- 
ganda by Leonard W. Doob (Henry Holt and 
Co., New York, 417 pages, $3.60). Among other 
aspects of propaganda Professor Doob describes 
its relationship to conflict, emotion, suggesti- 
bility. He stresses the importance of analyzing 
today’s propaganda, describes Communist and 
Nazi propaganda. Much of it is clear, easy read- 
ing; for the average reader, its technical classifi- 
cations may be skipped without great loss. 


speech. Does an understanding of these and similar 
words help you evaluate propaganda? 

4. Listen to speeches representing different shades 
of opinion on political, social, and economic issues. 
After each speech write down the dogmas which the 
speaker assumed and which the audience appeared 
to accept. Discuss these dogmas critically. 

5. Discuss the following questions: What are ef- 
fective means of counteracting some of the harmful 
effects of modern propaganda? What factors de- 
termine an individual’s receptivity to propaganda? 

6. Examine your own interests and activities. Do 
organizations with which you are associated use 
propaganda in order to secure trade, votes, subscrip- 
tions, etc.? Are their statements misleading? Who 
is responsible for such statements? As a member of 
the group are you responsible? 

7. How much does misleading propaganda de- 
stroy confidence? Confidence in what? In whom? 
What purpose does this sort of confidence serve? 
Are people in small communities more susceptible 
to propaganda than residents of large cities? 

Volume 1 JANUARY, 1938 Number 4 

How to Analyze Newspapers' 

F ROM time to time these letters will deal 
with channels of communication. This let- 
ter suggests some points for us to keep in mind 
in analyzing newspapers. For those who would 
understand how propaganda operates with 
reference to today’s issues, the newspaper has 
special significance. Every day it brings us in 
1 This is the first of two letters on analyzing newspapers. 

printed form examples of propaganda which 
we can read, clip, and study at our convenience. 

One should remember that propaganda is 
always associated with conflict— as cause, as ef- 
fect, or as cause and effect; In this respect propa- 
ganda has something in common with news. So 
close is the association that it may properly be 
said that news is usually the story of some con- 




fiict. The age-long battle of men against the im- 
personal forces of nature— fire, flood, drought, 
heat, and cold— gives us recurringly many ex- 
citing conflicts which become news. The strug- 
gle of men to learn the secrets of natural forces 
and to harness them to the purposes of men is 
itself a conflict, waged through the centuries. 
Out of this conflict— mankind’s battle for in- 
creased knowledge— have come the stories, the 
news of scientific achievements in many related 

Observed much more frequently in the news, 
however, are the conflicts of men with men and 
groups of men with other groups of men. A rob- 
ber attacks an honest citizen. The police cap- 
ture the robber. The prisoner is tried— conflict 
between prosecution and defense. Or a group 
of men, a labor union, disputes with an em- 
ployer or a group of employers over wages and 
working conditions. These and other groups 
bring conflicting pressures on governmental 
bodies to make laws or to use police power to 
help accomplish some desired ends. If there are 
sharp differences of opinion about the ends 
sought or about methods used to attain these 
ends, there are additional conflicts which may 
illustrate many or all of the common propa- 
gandas we find associated with stresses and 
pressures involving government, business, and 

Two Main Purposes 

Every American newspaper, unless its ex- 
penses are paid by some individual or group 
for the attainment of some special end, must 
have two main purposes. First , it must show a 
profit. In this it is like the corner drug store. 
Second , in order to make money , it must print 
news which attracts and holds readers. In most 
cases a newspaper’s main source of income is 
advertising. Ordinarily, it can obtain advertis- 
ing at profitable rates only when it has enough 
readers to make the advertising profitable to 
the enterprises which pay for it. 

What kinds of news and conflicts attract 
readers? That depends on the readers. The 
more intelligent readers of wide interests are at- 
tracted and held by the kinds of basic conflicts 
featured in the news of such papers as The New 
York Times , The New York Herald Tribune, 
The Baltimore Sun, The Christian Science 
Monitor, The Springfield Republican, The St. 
Louis Post-Dispatch, The St. Louis Star Times, 
The Des Moines Register, The Kansas City 

Star. (America has some of the best newspapers 
in the world; the above named papers are 
widely rated among the best.) A number of the 
conflicts featured by these newspapers, like 
propagandas which concern us most, have some 
significant bearing on matters of large social 
consequence: our incomes, our working condi- 
tions, our health, our education, our civil free- 
doms, and our responsibilities. 

Even the best available newspapers print 
much news not because it has any significant 
bearing on our everyday problems, but simply 
because it is entertaining. Under the head of 
entertainment come the comic strips, the soci- 
ety columns, and much of the news involving 
crime, vice, and sex. Most of this entertainment 
news has little bearing on matters of large social 
significance although some of it does unques- 
tionably affect popular standards of behavior 
and thought, which are areas important to ana- 
lysts of propaganda. A sensational murder or 
sex crime might be emphasized in a manner to 
divert attention deliberately from the basic 
sources of such crimes or from deeper, more 
general, social disorders. 

Freedom of the Press 

Especially important are the propagandas 
and news items growing out of the conflicts 
which affect our every day problems. 

Under a democratic government the decisions 
which we make as business men, labor unionists, 
teachers, or clergymen, or the decisions we make 
as voters, are for the most part decisions affect- 
ing our various democratic freedoms and re- 
sponsibilities. Unless we possess the essential 
facts and implications of the issues which we 
must decide, our decisions are perforce based 
upon misinformation, lack of information, 
guess-work, or emotion, and hence may be con- 
trary to our own interests. Most of us must relv 
on the newspapers for virtually all information 
bearing on these issues or conflicts. 

Do local, state, or federal governmental of- 
ficials create legislative or executive censorship, 
direct or indirect, to prevent the press from 
printing essential facts and implications? Does 
the apathy or lack of interest of readers in these 
matters make it unprofitable for newspapers to 
emphasize this more important news? Finally, 
do publishers, editors, or reporters themselves 
“take sides” on these issues, and in consequence 
cause the news to be so written or so edited as to 
omit or distort some essential facts and implica- 



tions? In brief, are newspapers themselves some- 
times so operated as to limit the freedom of 
newspaper readers to obtain essential facts and 
implications of conflicts affecting their welfare? 
Insofar as a newspaper is thus conducted it be- 
comes itself a medium for specific propagandas 
and opinions. 

In a recently published study of the Wash- 
ington press corps made under the auspices of 
the Social Science Research Council ( The Wash- 
ington Correspondents , Harcourt, Brace and 
Company, 1937, 436 pp., $3.00) Leo C. Rosten 
discovered through the circulation of several 
anonymous questionnaires that 60.5 per cent 
of this top-ranking, relatively high-salaried 
group of 1 27 men believe that the press devotes 
too much space to scandals and sensations while 
29.8 per cent believe the contrary and 9.6 per 
cent are uncertain; that 48.5 per cent believe 
the news columns are not equally fair to capital / 
and to labor while 43.8 per cent believe that 
they are equally fair and 7.6 per cent are uncer-j 
tain; that 86.6 per cent believe, however, that 
newspapers do not give significant accounts of \ 
basic economic conflicts while only 1 1 .4 per cent 
believe they do and only 1.9 per cent are uncer- 
tain; that 63.8 per cent believe the publishers* 
cry of “Freedom of the Press’* in fighting against 
the NRA code was a ruse while 24.7 per cent 
accept the cry at face value and 11.4 per cent 
are uncertain; that 46.2 per cent believe “most 
papers printed unfair or distorted stories about 
the Tugwell Pure Foods Bill** while only 21.6 
per cent held that the news accounts were fair 
and the large bloc of 32 per cent was uncertain; 
that 60 per cent agreed that “It is almost im- 
possible to be objective. You read your paper, 
notice its editorials, get praised for some stories 
and criticized for others. You 'sense policy* and 
are psychologicallv driven to slant your stories 
accordingly,*’ while only 34.2 per cent disagreed 
with this and only 5.6 per cent were uncertain; 
that 55.5 per cent testified thev had seen their 
writings “played down, cut or killed for 'policy* 
reasons,’’ while 41.6 per cent held to the con- 
trary and 2.7 per cent were uncertain: that 60.8 
per cent held that the correspondents in Wash- 
ington try to please their editors and 28.3 per 
cent disagreed; and that 60.6 per cent testified 
they wrote stories to fit the editorial preconcep- 
tions of their employer and only 34.8 per cent 
testified to the contrary. 

A number of individual correspondents told 
Mr. Rosten (who was guided in his searching 

inquiry by Professor Charles E. Merriam, chair- 
man of the political science department of the 
University of Chicago, Professor Harold D. 
Lasswell, of the University of Chicago, Pro- 
fessor Leonard D. White, and Dr. Charles 
Ascher) that publishers had brought pressure 
to bear upon them in various ways to produce a 
certain news “slant.” Mr. Rosten says, “News- 
papermen become expert in estimating the 
pleasure with which their home offices will wel- 
come stories with a particular political empha- 
sis or with particular political implications.” 

It would be strange indeed if publishers, edi- 
tors, and reporters, as individuals or as groups 
and associations, were not affected by emotions, 
prejudices, and biases irrespective of whether 
called by these names or designated as convic 
tions, principles, or ideals. Like the rest of us 
'they are profoundly influenced by their own 
inheritance and environment. They may “take 
sides” because they are led to do so by their own 
convictions or biases, or because of pressure ap- 
plied by readers and advertisers. In this respect 
they are more or less like business men, teachers, 
clergymen, and people in general. We believe, 
however, that they are less like them; that their 
very trade or vocation, involving as it does daily 
concern with the scores of conflicts out of which 
news flows, makes them tend to become less 
prejudiced, less biased, more skeptical, and 
more objective with respect to current conflicts 
than are most citizens. 

The Canons of Journalism 

In order to find “some means of codifying 
sound practice and just aspirations of American 
journalism,” The Canons of Journalism, ethical 
rules of the profession, were adopted by the 
American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 
28, 1923, and have since been endorsed by many 
state associations and other groups of journal- 
ists. One will find in these canons a yardstick to 
apply to the newspapers they read, a method of 
determining whether or not these papers are 
biased in their presentation of news. As printed 
in Editor and Publisher , January 30, 1937, the 
canons are: 

(1) RESPONSIBILITY— The right of a newspa- 
per to attract and hold readers is restricted by noth- 
ing but considerations of public welfare. The use a 
newspaper makes of the share of public attention it 
gains, serves to determine its sense of responsibility, 
which it shares with every member of its staff. A 



journalist who uses his power for any selfish or other- 
wise unworthy purpose is faithless to a high trust. 

(2) FREEDOM OF THE PRESS-Freedom of 
the press is to be guarded as a vital right of mankind. 
It is the unquestionable right by law, including the 
wisdom of any restrictive statute. To its privileges 
under the freedom of American institutions are in- 
separably joined its responsibilities for an intelligent 
fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. 

(3) INDEPENDENCE-Freedom from all obliga- 
tions except that of fidelity to the public interest is 

A. Promotion of any private interest contrary to 
the general welfare, for whatever reason, is not 
compatible with honest journalism. So-called news 
communications from private sources should not be 
published without public notice of their source or 
else substantiation of the claims to value as news, 
both in form and substance. 

B. Partisanship in editorial comment which 
knowingly departs from the truth does violence to 
the best spirit of American journalism; in the news 
columns it is subversive of a fundamental principle 
of the profession. 

RACY— Good faith with the reader is the foundation 
of all journalism worthy of the name. 

A. By every consideration of good faith, a news- 
paper is constrained to be truthful. It is not to be 
excused for lack of thoroughness, or accuracy within 
its control, or failure to obtain command of these 
essential qualities. 

B. Headlines should be fully warranted by the 
contents of the articles which they surmount. 

(5) IMPARTIALITY — Sound practice makes 
clear distinction between news reports and expres- 
sions of opinion. News reports should be free from 
opinion or bias of any kind. This rule does not apply 
to so-called special articles unmistakably devoted to 
advocacy or characterized by a signature authorizing 
the writer’s own conclusions and interpretations. 

(6) FAIR PLAY— A newspaper should not pub- 
lish unofficial charges affecting reputation or moral 
character, without opportunity given to the accused 
to be heard; right practice demands the giving of 
such opportunity in all cases of serious accusation 
outside judicial proceedings. 

A. A newspaper should not invade rights of pri- 
vate feelings without sure warrant of public rights 
as distinguished from public curiosity. 

B. It is the privilege, as it is the duty, of a news- 
paper to make prompt and complete correction of 
its own serious mistakes of fact or opinion, whatever 
their origin. 

(7) DECENCY— A newspaper cannot escape con- 
viction of insincerity if, while professing high moral 
purpose, it supplies incentives to base conduct, such 
as are to be found in details of crime and vice, pub- 
lication of which is not demonstrably for the public 
good. Lacking authority to enforce its canons, the 
journalism here represented can but express the 
hope that deliberate pandering to vicious instincts 
will encounter effective public disapproval or yield 
to the influence of a preponderant professional con- 

Concerning any newspaper, therefore, our 
subscribers may ask questions based on these 
canons, such questions as: Is it published in 
accord with the canons of The American Society 
of Newspaper Editors? Does it attract and hold 
readers by "nothing but considerations of pub- 
lic welfare"? Is it using its freedom to omit or 
to distort essential facts relating to conflicts and 
issues before the community or the nation? Of 
what does “fidelity to the public interest" con- 
sist? When does any private interest become 
contrary to the general welfare? How are the 
seven propaganda devices used in news articles, 
headlines, editorials, and cartoons? (It should 
be remembered, however, that the use of the 
propaganda devices is not in itself an evil if 
they are used in accordance with the canons of 
journalism and if the opinions or propagandas 
they carry are scrutinized and analyzed by the 
newspaper readers.) 


If possible, read more than one local news- 
paper. For purposes of analysis of most propa- 
ganda. much news growing out of conflicts of 
little social significance need not be read. In ad- 
dition to local papers read a newspaper which 
prints many more facts and implications arising 
from conflicts of national and world signifi- 
cance than most local papers can print. (Some 
of these papers were listed above.) For back- 
ground reading we suggest: The Daily News- 
paper in America , by Alfred McClung Lee fThe 
MacMillan Co., New York, 797 pp., S3. 50). Pub- 
lished in 1937, it includes discussion of the cur- 
rent labor-employer conflict between the Amer- 
ican Newspaper Publishers Association and the 
American Newspaper Guild. For news growing 
out of this conflict, and for other significant 
facts about newspapers as business enterprises 
read Editor and Publisher and The Guild Re- 
porter. The November 1937 issue of Building 
America is devoted to the American press. 

Volume I 


Number 5 

Newspaper Analysis' 

N EWSPAPERS in any nation mirror the 
political, economic, social, and religious 
freedoms and responsibilities, or lack of them, 
in that nation. In general, there are two types 
of government, two types of economic systems, 
two types of theological systems, two types of 
social groups. On the one hand, there is the 
authoritarian type. In this, authority flows from 
the top down and obedience goes from the bot- 
tom up. On the other hand, there is the demo- 
cratic type. In this, in theory and in practice 
insofar as the organization is actually demo- 
cratic, authority flows from all members of the 
group, and obedience as well as authority flows 
from democratically chosen representatives to 
the group. Under the democratic theory, offi- 
cials of a government, church, or any other 
organization are responsible to the people com- 
prising the group. 

In authoritarian states a single will domi- 
nates. For that reason there is but one voice 
permitted, the voice of the dictator or dicta- 
torial group. Other voices are not heard. There 
is but one opinion, hence but one propaganda; 
school, radio, cinema, theater, labor and busi- 
ness groups, and newspapers must repeat or 
mirror that propaganda. 

In democratic states there are many wills; 
hence many voices, many opinions, many propa- 
gandas. If the many wills, voices, opinions, and 
propagandas were to be overtly suppressed in 
such a state then it would cease being a demo- 
cratic state and would become an authoritarian 
state. This, for example, has happened in Italy 
and Germany, which once had free channels for 
the communication of information, opinion, 
and propaganda. In Russia the channels of com- 
munication have seldom if ever been open ex- 
cept to one group. During the World War, in 
the United States, in England, and in France, 
the authoritarian method of government was 
employed and only one general mode of propa- 
ganda was permitted. 

In the authoritarian state the propaganda 
problem is simple; the authority at the top sim- 
ply suppresses all propagandas but its own. 

1 This is the second of two letters on analyzing newspapers. 


Concentration camps, imprisonment, and even 
death are used to prevent other propagandas. 

Democracy and Propaganda 

In democratic states, such as the United States, 
there are many propagandas; properly so, if one 
prefers the democratic to the authoritarian state. 
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press, as 
a Springfield Republican editorial (September 
3, 1937) has pointed out, “necessarily afford full 
scope for propaganda from everybody, every- 
where, any time.” 

“Free propaganda/’ The Springfield Repub- 
lican added, “is nothing but free publicity for 
the views, interpretations, arguments, pleadings, 
truths and untruths, half-lies and lies of all crea- 
tion. Propaganda is good as well as bad. ‘We 
are surrounded by clouds of propaganda.’ . . . 

It is up to each of us to precipitate from those 
clouds the true and the false, the near-true and 
the near-false, identifying and giving to each 
classification its correct label. If this task is far 
beyond the facilities or ability of most of us, the 
fact has to be accepted as the price we pay for 
liberty/’ \ 

“Yet the freest press in the world," the edi- 
torial continued, “abuses its privileges shame- 
fully. The deliberate misrepresentation and dis- 
tortion of truth all the time going on for the 
promotion of some interest, political, financial, 
social or patriotic, is staggering." 

\jnder the democratic system, as The New 
York Times (September 1, 1937) suggested edi- 
torially, truth and falsehood fight it out in a 
free and open field. “What is truly vicious," 
continued The Times, “is not propaganda but 
a monopoly of it." 

Pressures on the Press 

Full scope for propaganda from everybody, 
everywhere, any time, is not possible if news- 
papers exclude from their columns some opin- 
ions and propagandas while giving space to 
others. When this happens one side or the other 
tends to have the monopoly of propaganda 
which The New York Times holds to be “truly 



vicious/’ Then we see the violation of signifi- 
cant portions of the Canons of Journalism of 
the American Society of Newspaper Editors. 
(See January issue of Propaganda Analysis.) 

It is frequently asserted that newspaper ar- 
ticles and editorials often are determined by 
pressure of advertisers and readers. On this 
point Professor Roscoe Ellard of the School of 
Journalism, University of Missouri, has pre- 
pared for the Institute of Propaganda Analysis 
the following statement: 

“Newspapers have learned that it is a rare 
business man who is business-like enough to 
buy space he knows will profit him in a paper 
that has seriously angered him by editorial poli- 
cies or news. He will buy advertising less ad- 
vantageously in order to punish an editor, per- 
haps to put that editor out of business. 

“A point to understand is that it requires 
adequate power— financial power— for a news- 
paper to fight a persistent predatory anger 
which truthful, public-spirited editing may have 
aroused, either among large advertisers or or- 
ganized groups of readers. Newspaper invest- 
ments are huge; operating expenses high; news- 
papers must publish regularly whether the 
advertising for each issue is profitable or not. 
Newspapers need both advertising revenue and 
constant readers in order to exist. 

“A newspaper can offend one or two adver- 
tisers—// it has many . It can attack a utility. But 
if it loses any significant proportion of its con- 
stant readers, it loses the indispensable service 
it must sell to the advertiser. Yet it is not the 
reader who pays for news and comment: the 
advertiser pays. 2 Journalism, therefore, must 
weigh each pressure for suppression or support 
in terms of the newspaper’s very existence. Each 
editor must ask, ‘Are we strong enough to with- 
stand this particular pressure? It is apt to cost 
us $ 10,000 or 1 1 ,000,000—5,000 readers or 50,000 
readers/ The problem is not as simple as many 
critics assume. 

“Unless the pressure is unusually strong, the 
metropolitan daily can abruptly resist — and 
usually does resist— an economic attempt to 
coerce. The smaller paper cannot, for the 
smaller paper needs nearly every advertiser on 
its books, and nearly every reader on its list in 
order to pay a sufficiently reasonable dividend 

2 Our comment: Some authorities hold that in the long 
run the reader does pay for advertising, that its cost must 
be added to the price of the products or services adver- 

to keep its stockholders from withdrawing their 

“The principal reasons why very strong pa- 
pers resort at times to propaganda or submit to 
pressures are two, both psychological, rather 
than immediately economic. One is the quite 
sincere class consciousness of either the pub- 
lisher or stockholders; the other an apathy on 
the part of readers toward important issues over 
which they cannot get excited, or which they 
cannot understand. 

“A class-conscious publisher, for instance, 
lives on a suburban gold coast, belongs to the 
countrv club, eats lunch with a banker and an 
industrialist. This publisher as a young man 
mav have possessed an unprejudiced point of 
view with plenty of courage to act upon it. 
Graduallv his environment changes his sincere 
attitudes. Finally he hates to have anything in 
his paper that seems out of place among ‘the 
best people/ He begins euphemistically and 
quite honestly to describe as ‘in bad taste* the 
publication of facts or opinions which support 
an economic or a political philosophy with 
which his associates do not agree. 

“For instance, from a famous historic city, 
full of tradition and strong social prejudice, a 
newspaperman writes me this: 

“We can laugh at the Townsendites, tell the Le- 
gion to mind its own business, inform the politicians 
that they can run the government, but that we*ll run 
the newspaper— that is, we can tell those people 
that in their positions as members of the various 
pressure groups. But their pressure is nevertheless 
powerful on the ground of our social contact with 
them and our personal friendship. What we can tell 
the Townsendite as a Townsendite or the industrial 
proprietor as a capitalist, we cannot tell the same 
men as fellow committeemen at the country club, or 
as the men whose wives gossip with our wives on a 
trip to Bermuda. 

“A newspaperman is only human, and the best of 
us dislike to have enemies in our intimate social con- 
tacts, even though we know we are right. A straight 
presentation of the news according to the best jour- 
nalistic standards may offend John Doe whose resi- 
dential grounds touch ours and whose daughter is 
engaged to our nephew. So we rationalize that may- 
be John is right as far as he goes— and then we com- 
promise. God unwilling, and human nature being 
what it is, we can do no other.” 

“The fact that reader anathv can also stifle 
important facts and comment is illustrated by 
this incident: 

“Paper X in a middle western city cam- 



paigned for the city manager form of govern- 
ment following an admitted fiasco of inactivity, 
inefficiency, and political maneuvering with 
municipal utility funds. Facts and comment in 
this campaign produced widespread approval 
over coffee cups at luncheon clubs, dinner par- 
ties, and club house tables. But specific proce- 
dures of changing the city charter, complexities 
of city management and the somewhat labo- 
rious organization to effect the reform, were 
obscure, uninteresting, too much trouble. 

“No one moved to do anything except talk; 
readers tired of news and comment about it. 
The campaign fell of its own weight. Few edi- 
tors will print columns when they discover that 
practically no one is reading them. 

“Two hitherto unpublished cases of advertis- 
ing and organized reader pressure follow: 

“Metropolitan paper Y published a series of 
stories on sweat shop conditions in a factory 
which had branches in other parts of the coun- 
try. The stories were all substantiated by per- 
sonal investigation of an experienced reporter 
and by personal interviews with girls employed 
in the factory. The factory and various of its 
branches brought considerable pressure by 
threats to withdraw its own advertising and to 
secure the withdrawal of national advertising. 
Following this— whether because of it no one 
can say— the same paper published a series of 
illustrated stories on ideal working conditions 
in the same factory. 

“The editor of a small but old and profitable 
daily writes me this: ‘Pressure constantly is 
brought to bear upon us, though often it comes 
more from our advance knowledge of what a 
certain group’s attitude will be on a particular 
subject than from pressure exerted after publi- 
cation. For instance, veterans probably hold as 
strong a threat over small town newspapers as 
any other group: vet they seldom actually bring 
pressure to bear after a specific publication. 
Policies on my paper, and I think on many 
others with no greater resources than ours, are 
adopted or modified in advance in an effort to 
escape later pressure. The “strong sentiments” 
of other local groups are generally known, and, 

consciously or unconsciously, many small dailies 
tread on as few toes as possible without seriously 
losing character and self-respect.’ 

“Many cases exist, of course, of valiant and 
expensive defeats of pressure attempts. My ex- 
perience is that the vast majority of editors 
invariably reject what they recognize to be 
attempts to coerce them when the issue is im- 
portant, and when refusal to submit is not 
almost certain to bankrupt them. The problem 
is very seldom one of bribery; it is one of the 
wish to continue in business.” 8 

The Most Reliable Newspapers 

The Washington newspaper correspondents, 
obviously well-informed in this field, replying 
anonymously to a questionnaire by Mr. Leo C. 
Rosten and cited in his book, The Washington 
Correspondents (Harcourt, Brace and Com- 
pany, New York, 1937), found the following in 
respective order the most reliable newspapers 
in the United States: The New York Times, 
The Baltimore Sun, The Christian Science 
Monitor, the Scripps-Howard papers, The St, 
Louis Post-Dispatch, The Washington Star, 
The New York Herald-Tribune, The Washing- 
ton Post, The Philadelphia Record, and The 
Kansas City Star. The least reliable in the order 
given were reported to be: the Hearst news- 
papers, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles 
Times , the Scripps-Howard papers, The Den- 
ver Post, The New York Herald-Tribune, The 
Washington Post , The Philadelphia Record, 
The Daily Worker, and The Philadelphia In- 

It will be observed that the Washington press 
corps is divided as to whether certain news- 
papers should be classified as “most reliable” 
or “least reliable.” It should also be observed 
that certain newspapers appear exclusively in 
one category or the other. The first two news- 
paper organizations in each group were the 
overwhelming choices of the corps, so that we 
have The New York Times balanced as “most 
fair and reliable” against the Hearst newspapers 
as “least fair and reliable”; The Baltimore Sun 
balanced against The Chicago Tribune. 

■For additional citations of effects of pressure on news- 
papers, see articles by Professor Roscoe Ellard in Editor 
and Publisher, April 10, 1937, in Education Against Pro- 
paganda , Seventh Yearbook of the National Council for 
the Social Studies. 1937, and in The Quill , June, 1937. 
See also: The Washington Correspondents by Leo C. 
Rosten; Freedom of the Press by George Seldes. Sug- 

gested reading for 1938: Editor and Publisher, Room 
1700, Times Square Building, New York City (regular 
subscription S4.00, educational rate S2.00 a year) and 
The Guild Reporter , 1560 Broadway, New York City 
(regular subscription $3.50, educational and library rate 
$1.75 a year). y 

The Press and Political Leadership' 


HpHE greatest shock ever experienced by the 
-L newspaper publishers of America was to 
wake up on the morning of November 4, 1936, 
and discover that they had no influence in a 
presidential election. For many years the Ameri- 
can press has been ruled by economic forces 
whose inevitable effect is to destroy the capacity 
of the press for leadership. But so little is this 
understood by most publishers that they still re- 
gard it as mere popular perversity that the met- 
ropolitan newspapers were overwhelmingly for 
one candidate for President, and the people 
were overwhelmingly for another. 

Since the 1936 election, the efforts of the press 
have been devoted to two other matters of polit- 
ical importance. Almost unanimously they com- 
bated President Roosevelt’s plan to reorganize 
the Supreme Court, and with equal unanimity 
they engaged in a campaign to discredit Justice 
Hugo L. Black and compel him to resign from 
the position to which the President appointed 

The newspapers take full credit for the de- 
feat of the court plan. They presented the news 
about it fairly, debated it vigorously, and I 
think they exerted an important local pressure 
upon individual senators and congressmen. But 
the Gallup poll shows conclusively diat the 
President was defeated, not by the newspapers, 
which had been against him from the start, but 
by the Supreme Court’s reversal of its own con- 
stitutional interpretations and by the retire- 
ment of Justice Van Devanter. This changed 
the trend of public opinion, and the newspapers 
reinforced the trend by praising the new inter- 
pretations of the Constitution as fulsomely as 
they had praised diametrically opposite inter- 
pretations a year and two years earlier. 

T HE newspapers which took part in the 
campaign against Justice Black are con- 
vinced that they performed a noble service to 
the country. They do not yet observe that they 
met defeat in their primary, or at least their 

1 Reprinted by permission from the January, 1938 issue 
of Social Education for distribution with the February 
Letter of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Inc., 
130 Morningside Drive, New York City. Mr. Brant, 

ostensible objective, which was to force Justice 
Black off die court, and it will be some years, 
probably, before the truth dawns on them diat 
the campaign against Justice Black, instead of 
being a statesman-like effort to protect the Su- 
preme Court against prejudice and bigotry, was 
in itself a prejudiced and bigoted misuse of die 
channels of publicity. I say this as one who 
abhors to the utmost the spirit of the Ku Klux 
Klan, and as one who despises the political op- 
portunism which makes ambitious men cater 
not only to this organization but to any other 
ignoble force, temporary or permanent, that 
gets in a position to aid or block political 

I BELIEVE that the attitude of the press 
toward Justice Black will be stamped in 
time as the most discreditable tour de force of 
the present journalistic epoch, not because the 
newspapers were opposed to the Black appoint- 
ment, not because they produced evidence that 
he had been a member of the klan, not because 
they expressed alarm over the possible effect of 
this klan affiliation, not because they called for 
Justice Black’s resignation or removal. The 
campaign will be stamped as discreditable be- 
cause from first to last it was a presentation of 
news colored to produce a desired effect, and to 
prevent unbiased judgment by the people. Some 
day, undoubtedly, there will be a careful analy- 
sis of this campaign. I merely wish to suggest, 
by two or three details, how it departed from 
the standard of uncolored presentation of the 
news which is rightly called the foundation of 
freedom of the press. 

The most convincing defense of Justice Black 
that I have read is a letter written by a Jewish 
rabbi in Birmingham, Alabama, a man who has 
been a rabbi more than forty years and has 
known Mr. Black for twenty-five years. This let- 
ter has been read aloud in public addresses, it 
has been sent to various people over the coun- 
try. It is a short letter. It is available for publi- 

author of Storm Over the Constitution , is editor of the 
editorial page of the St. Louis Star-Times. This address 
was delivered before the National Council for the Social 
Studies at St. Louis on November 29, 1937. 



cation. But so far as I know it has never been 
published in any newspaper in the United 

The New York Times and other newspapers 
sent their ace reporters to Birmingham to in- 
quire about the reputation of Mr. Black as to 
racial and religious prejudice. They found 
nothing against him, but what they reported 
in his favor lost force because it came from 
political sources, the Birmingham postmaster 
and the governor of Alabama. Not one of these 
brilliant reporters, apparently, thought of ask- 
ing the Jewish rabbi whether Justice Black was 
prejudiced against Jews. And when the rabbi, 
on his own initiative, came to the defense of 
Justice Black and told how Black had fought 
against the Ku Klux Klan and defeated the 
klan in its effort to drive a Jewish school princi- 
pal out of the schools of Birmingham, that was 
not classed as news fit to print. 

The newspapers departed still further from 
journalistic principles in presenting their chief 
accusation against Justice Black, that he had 
accepted a life membership in the klan. This 
charge was published in advance of the evi- 
dence on which it was based. The evidence 
proved to be an admission card, or pass, to klan 
lodges, with no mention on it or anywhere else 
of a life membership. Whether this card was or 
was not a life membership was a matter of opin- 
ion, of interpretation. Under the rule of un- 
colored presentation of the news, it would have 
been legitimate journalism to publish the fact 
that Mr. Black received this admission card, 
and relate the circumstances under which he 
received it. It would have been equally legiti- 
mate to make the claim, editorially, that this 
admission card was in truth a life membership, 
or that it was a membership lasting until the 
card was thrown away, or that it was no mem- 
bership at all. But the newspapers did not pre- 
sent the uncolored fact and then interpret it A 
They presented the interpretation as a fact, 
thus fixing it as a fact in the public mind before 
disclosing that it was an interpretation. That 
was not presentation of news. It was propa- 
ganda in the news columns. 

The final count against Justice Black, #nd 
the one that seems to have most weight today, 
is that he deceived the Senate, either by silence 
about his klan membership while it was under 
discussion, or by denying that he had been a 
member. Immediately after Mr. Black made his 
radio speech, admitting his former membership 

in the klan, Senator Borah made the comment 
that Justice Black had stated the situation as he 
—Borah— understood it when the Senate voted 
for confirmation. Here was what appeared to 
be the material for a journalistic sensation. 
Senator Borah, during the debate on confirma- 
tion, had challenged anybody to prove that 
Black was connected with the klan. It was 
Borah’s speech, more than anything else, that 
seemed to convict Black of deceiving his col- 
leagues in the Senate. And then Borah admitted 
that he knew it all the time. How did he know 
it? From whom did he learn it, and when? You 
would think that every newspaper in America 
would be clamoring for an explanation from 
Senator Borah. How was his admission re- 
ceived? It was ignored. The New York Times 
wrote a little pip-squeak editorial, pointing to 
the conflict between Borah’s two statements, 
but failed to draw the obvious conclusion. Did 
the great news machine of the American press 
unlimber itself to get the facts? It did not. Why 
not? Because the evidence would have shown 
that Justice Black did not deceive the Senate. 
There was no way on earth by which Senator 
Borah could reasonably have foreknown the 
facts set forth by Justice Black in his radio 
speech, except directly or indirectly, from Black 

I HAVE described this campaign of propa- 
ganda, not for the sake of defending Justice 
Black, who will make his own reputation, good 
or bad, on the Supreme Court, but because it 
shows more clearly than anything else in recent 
years what is the matter with the American 
press. Fundamentally, the campaign was not 
directed against Justice Black as a member or 
former member of the Ku Klux Klan, but 
against him as a man whose record in the Senate 
created fear that he would be prejudiced against 
big business. The anti-Black campaign, owing 
to the racial and religious issues involved, pro- 
duced an alignment in the public at large far 
different from the ordinary lines of political 
and economic cleavage, but the core of it was 
hostility to Black’s economic and social radical- 
ism. That was what set the forces in motion 
against him. The public response to this cam- 
paign was creditable to the instincts of those 
who thought civil liberties were in danger and 
to the discernment of those who thought they 
were not in danger, but the campaign itself, 
in its genesis and management, has a far more 



fundamental importance. It was a controlled 
departure from the accepted standards of jour- 
nalism, and it was a departure resulting from 
economic determinism in the field of newspaper 
publishing. This economic determinism is what 
is destroying the power of the press by under- 
mining the confidence of the people in it. 

T HE metropolitan newspaper is coming to 
be recognized as a part of American big 
business. It represents an investment of mil- 
lions of dollars. Dependence on advertising ties 
it more closely to the business world. The typi- 
cal large-city publisher lives and thinks in terms 
of million-dollar finance. In nearly all the re- 
lationships that affect his political and eco- 
nomic opinions, he stands in the same position 
as the steel manufacturer, the bank president, 
the mine operator, the public utility magnate, 
or the department store owner. The newspaper 
publisher has an interest identical with that of 
any other big business man in matters affecting 
stability of investments, the weight and pur- 
poses of taxation, relations with labor, redistri- 
bution of wealth. 

The owner of a newspaper is under a ter- 
rific compulsion toward political conservatism, 
which to him means saving the country, and 
offers a mighty field for editorial patriotism. 
Out of such materials the fundamental policy 
of the American press has been built up. This 
trend toward conservatism is all the more im- 
pressive if you recognize that there are many 
liberal newspaper publishers in the country, 
and that great newspaper properties are built 
up through the popular appeal of liberal poli- 
cies. The trouble with journalistic liberalism is 
that it seldom can withstand the strain of great 
prosperity, and it is not hereditary. Call the roll 
of the conservative newspapers of America and 
you will find an amazing number that were 
built up through militant liberalism, but which 
through changes of ownership, through changes 
in family ideals from one generation to the 
next, or through the sheer pressure of reinvested 
profits, have become bulwarks of American cap- 
italism in its most reactionary aspects. 

W ITH this preliminary I invite you to look 
at the amazing phenomenon we have in 
the United States today— a political philosophy 
which we call the New Deal, completely trium- 
phant in national policy as expressed in a presi- 

dential election, yet practically unrepresented 
in that upper stratum of the American press 
which dignifies itself by the title of the fourth 
estate. If journalism were quickly responsive to 
political trends, there would have sprung up 
long before this a mushroom growth of liberal 
newspapers, all of them devoted to the New 
Deal and appealing for the blessings of its fol- 
lowers. Why has there been no such develop- 
ment? For two reasons. First, the cost of estab- 
lishing a daily newspaper in a large city runs so 
far into the millions that it can be undertaken 
only by men of great wealth. The same is true 
of the purchase of an existing newspaper. Men 
wealthy enough to buy or establish newspapers 
are not usually interested in an extension 
of liberalism. In the second place, the estab- 
lished conservative newspapers protect them- 
selves against public disfavor in a very credit- 
able way. They put out newspapers which sat- 
isfy the main necessities and desires of liberal 
readers, to an extent at least sufficient to dis- 
courage tire entry of new competition. What 
^e these necessities and desires? To know the 
/ news of the world, and to be entertained. A 
newspaper which presents the news fairly and 
comprehensively, and which has appealing 
comic strips, can weather an astounding amount 
of opposition to its editorial policies. 

I believe that the comparative strength of the 
news columns of American newspapers— their 
strength in comparison with American editorial 
columns and in comparison with European 
news columns— has been due to the necessities 
of self-defense. Our newspapers have had to do 
something to compensate for their hostility to 
the political views of their readers. What they 
have done is present ordinary political news in 
relatively unbiased fashion, though still retain- 
ing what might be called an institutional bias— 
for instance, against a labor party, or a strike in 
the steel industry, or socialism, or Justice Black. 

If I may repeat, here is what makes it pos- 
sible to have a metropolitan press fundamen- 
tally out of sympathy with the prevailing 
thought of the nation. First, a community of 
interest between newspaper publishers, who are 
either wealthy or dependent on wealth, and 
the great business interests with which a major- 
ity of the people are in conflict. Second, the 
tremendous cost of establishing competing lib- 
eral newspapers. Third, a defense mechanism 
by which conservative newspapers offer ex- 
tensive and comparatively unbiased news re- 



ports as recompense for editorial hostility to 

I doubt whether this is a permanent align- 
ment. I do not believe it is possible for any 
political philosophy to remain dominant in the 
United States over a period of years without 
forging an instrument for its expression in jour- 
nalism. However, the inescapable fact is that 
we have no press today representing the domi- 
nant political thought of the country, and there 
is no immediate prospect of such a press being 
established on a national scale. I look upon that 
fact as the most dangerous single factor in 
American politics. It tends to paralyze the leg- 
islative branch of government, rendering it un- 
able to deal with hopes and demands based 
upon economic distress, and by this frustration 
tends to drive the nation through chaos to 

W E have, it is true, the radio. The radio 
has been a factor in emancipation of the 
people from sole reliance upon the press, and 
when I say emancipation I mean emancipation. 
It is possible now for two candidates for Presi- 
dent, or more than two, to go before the people 
of the entire nation and make their pleas for 
election without being dependent in the slight- 
est degree upon the goodwill of the newspapers. 
If the newspapers distort a speech by unfair 
headlines or an improper summary, the people 
have a criterion of their own— the memory of 
what they heard with their own ears— to correct 
the wrong impression. Also, through the radio, 
the personality of candidates for office may be' 
presented with a skill limited only by the per- 
sonality itself. And if that personality is too 
alluring in its appeal, the newspaper next day 
offers, in cold type, the text by which the first 
judgment may be corrected. The radio may 
have sins of its own to answer for, but in the 
choosing of a national executive it has given 
political democracy an instrument for its ful- 

To a much lesser degree, this holds true also 
in the election of United States senators, con- 
gressmen, and the governors of states. The radio 
is an adequate forum for debate among all con- 
tenders for important office. What happens, 
however, once these officers are elected? The 
President continues to carry his policies to the 
people, over the radio and through the columns 
of the newspapers. 

AS long as the President maintains this direct 
ii appeal, and as long as the people continue 
to look upon him as their friend and champion, 
he is impregnable to the criticism of a hostile 
press. But what about senators and congress- 
men and governors and state legislators? What 
part do they play in the fashioning of a per- 
manent political policy? And what influence 
does the press have upon them? 

What we call the New Deal exists as an un- 
written compact, undefined in its terms but 
definite in its objectives, between President 
Roosevelt and the 27,000,000 voters who re- 
elected him a year ago. Since that time, thanks 
to a rebellion in Congress against virtually 
every item in the President’s program, and to 
tactical mistakes by the President himself, there 
has been no advance in a year’s time toward the 
underlying objectives. I do not wish to advance 
the argument that, in these differences of opin- 
ion, the President is right and Congress is 
wrong. But let me present this thought. Sup- 
pose that on some occasion when the President 
is taking one of his periodic trips upon an 
American warship, the magazine explodes. Or 
suppose that an infected tooth produces a simi- 
lar result. What would be left of the New Deal? 
What would be left of a functioning American 

Now I know there are some who will say that 
the President has absorbed the government into 
his own hands. But, if you eliminate him, you 
have everything that the government had in 
1932— a conservative Congress, a Vice President, 
in line for the presidential succession, who is 
not strikingly different in social and economic 
outlook from Herbert Hoover. In brief, if Presi- 
dent Roosevelt should disappear you would 
have precisely the kind of government that 
would result from his defeat by a conservative. 

I am not so narrow in my conception of 
democracy as to believe that a freely chosen 
conservative government, reflecting the calm 
judgment of a majority of the people, would be 
incapable of handling the country’s affairs. But 
I can conceive of no more dangerous situation 
than to have a nationally dominant and highly 
emotional liberalism represented solely by the 
chief executive and a few of his aids, while all 
other branches of the government are secretly 
or openly hostile even to the broad objectives 
of the President’s policies, and are looking only 
for a chance to sabotage them. I can conceive of 



no more dangerous alternative to such a frus- 
trated liberalism than to have it lead to a change 
of political control based on disillusion and 
despair, as it may easily do in a period of re- 
newed depression and general unemployment. 

W HAT lies ahead of us if the New Deal 
fails? I tell you that if the political future 
is determined by the inability of the Roosevelt 
administration to deal with basic economic 
problems, what lies ahead is the loss of hope 
by tens of millions of people, a devastating war 
between capital and labor, an imminent col- 
lapse of the business structure, a reaching out 
for control of the government, and a choice at 
the polls between a far more radical New Deal 
and the concealed fascism of big business. 

A GAINST this prospect what have you? You 
l \ have the whole burden of constructive 
leadership thrown upon one man in the White 
House, and that leadership rendered abortive 
because there is no articulate public opinion to 
support a genuine attack upon the destructive 
economic forces that periodically paralyze the 
industrial life of the nation. What have we had 
since 1933? First, a makeshift New Deal whose 
errors were intensified by the inability of Con- 
gress to offer constructive criticism growing out 
of a basic sympathy. Second, a New Deal which 
a hostile Congress has whittled down and com- 
promised and rendered as abortive as possible. 
And today, a New Deal threatened with total 
disruption because a periodic slump in busi- 
ness, caused chiefly by monopolistic price con- 
trol and profiteering, creates a hope in Congress 
that the people may turn against President 

This is not government. It is chaos. It offers 
our country the stability of a powder keg in a 
cigaret factory. The government of the United 
States, and the people of the United States, 
have never in their entire history faced so pre- 
carious a future as at the present moment. At 
bottom, this must be charged to the power, the 
blindness, and the obstinacy of a capitalist busi- 
ness system which would destroy itself rather 
than follow a painful road to salvation. But 
part of it represents the tragedy of the Ameri- 
can press, which is both a part of die business 
system and its most powerful lobbyist. If the 
present occupant of the White House, thanks 
to personality and the radio, has been able to 

emancipate himself from the veto power of the 
American press, the same emancipation can not 
be said to have been attained to any appreciable 
extent by die lesser figures in our government- 
lesser men individually, but collectively as im- 
portant as the President, and in an ideal sense 
more important. 

T HE collective weight of American news- 
papers lies like a mountain of woodpulp 
upon Congress and state legislatures. The coer- 
cive force of a newspaper, directed against 
specific legislation, bears lightly upon the Presi- 
dent, but heavily upon a local congressman. By 
mere silence, the press exposes senators and 
congressmen to the savage attacks of a business 
lobby, and, when the President’s position is 
weakened by a business recession, the total lack 
of a public press supporting his objectives per- 
mits a sweep of power to the forces in op- 

The almost solid alignment of metropolitan 
newspapers against the Roosevelt administra- 
tion is the entrenching force behind a dishar- 
mony diat may wreck our government at any 
great increase of economic strain. The news- 
papers of America furnish no driving force for 
social reform that touches the economic system. 
They are a positive handicap in economic re- 
form. And they tend to freeze the legislative 
branch of government. 

W HEN the United States government, in 
1 933> accepted the responsibility for pub- 
lic action to restore business activity and insure 
social security, it did not simply enter upon a 
period of emergency activity, to be discarded as 
soon as there were signs of an industrial boom. 
It moved from one era in national life to an- 
other. It accepted the fruits of the industrial 
revolution and the financial revolution— steel, 
steam, and electricity in the field of industry, 
the creation of the corporation in the field of 

We entered a new world in 1933, and entered 
it suddenly. Barriers which had held for thirty 
years, and some which had held for a hun- 
dred years, were suddenly broken down. We 
had to catch up with Europe in the field of 
social security, and part company with Asia in 
the ruination of land. We had to, and still have 
to, deal with the incredible sight of a starving, 
ragged, slum-dwelling population in a nation 



with the greatest wealth-producing capacity in 
all the history of the human race. We had to 
deal with the problem of a business machine 
that periodically breaks down, a financial sys- 
tem that knows no law of survival except the 
law of the jungle, and a society so interlocked 
and integrated and technologically interdepend- 
ent that the maintenance of business activity be- 
comes an inescapable function of government. 

T O what extent is this development in hu- 
man affairs admitted and acted upon by the 
American press? It is impossible to point to one 
important constructive step taken in the United 
States in the last eight years which represents 
either the inventiveness, the initiative, or the 
supporting activity of the American press. For 
a few months in 1933, during the bank holiday 
and in the preliminary stages of the NRA, there 
was an emotional response to the initiative 
shown by President Roosevelt. 

From the day the newspapers were invited to 
put a curb on child labor in their own industry, 
from the day they were asked to limit the hours 
of their employes to forty per week and to pay 
reporters a minimum wage of twenty-five dol- 
lars, from the day they were told that the law 
guaranteed newspaper employes the right to or- 
ganize for collective bargaining, from that day 
the metropolitan newspapers of the United 
States have been substantially regimented 
against the New Deal, the agent of regimen- 
tation being the American Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association. 

Incidentally, may I say at this point that it is 
a great pleasure to work for a newspaper whose 
publisher does not care what I say about the 
American Newspaper Publishers Association. 

For four years the American Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association has been deluging its mem- 
bers with bulletins. First it attempted to regi- 
ment the editorial opinion of the country 
against the wage and hour and collective 
bargaining provisions of the NRA. Then it 
launched a collective campaign against ratifi- 
cation of the Child Labor Amendment. Finally 
it turned its guns upon the National Labor 
Relations Act, not only furnishing arguments 
which editors might use to prove the uncon- 
stitutionality of that law, but advising pub- 
lishers to refuse to obey it. 

I do not know to what extent the ANPA has 
influenced editorial opinion, but I do believe 
that the attempt of metropolitan newspapers to 

protect their own system of child labor, euphe- 
mistically styled the “little merchant system,” 
has been one of the principal causes of public 
distrust of the press. I believe that the open and 
obvious anti-labor bias of a great majority of 
our larger newspapers, and the smug assump- 
tion that readers cannot penetrate the veil of 
pretended impartiality, have been more potent 
than the presidential election in discrediting 
metropolitan journalism among the masses of 
the American people. 

T O whatever extent the ANPA has suc- 
ceeded in imposing the views of its conserv- 
ative directorate upon member newspapers over 
the country, to that extent it has weakened the 
American press as a free institution, and to that 
extent it has reduced the confidence of the 
American people in the press of the country. 
I object to this attempt at regimentation not 
because it is conservative, but because it weak- 
ens the basis of our American democracy. I 
would object to it just as strongly if it came 
from liberals. Any attempt at the centralized 
control of opinion is an attack on the freedom 
of the human mind. The attempted regimenta- 
tion of the press by the American Newspaper 
Publishers Association is most dangerous as a 
symptom, a symptom of that automatic regi- 
mentation which comes from a common view 
of economic interest, applied in the form of 
political pressure upon the local representatives 
of a national administration. 

I would rather see the American government 
wholly conservative, by a vote of the people, 
than to see the hopes and aspirations of the 
people subjected to recurring disillusion. That 
disillusion we shall have if we go on, building 
up hope through presidential promises to the 
people, only to see them torn down through 
legislative compromise or administrative fail- 
ure. The spoils system is placed above adminis- 
trative efficiency. Why? Chiefly because there is 
no recognition in Congress, and no driving 
force in the American press compelling rec- 
ognition, that administrative efficiency must be 
put behind the present undertakings of the gov- 
ernment, if we are to escape national chaos. 

We face the threat of ruinous inflation of 
prices and the collapse of government credit. 
Why? Because, through the will of the people, 
and the compelling force of the industrial revo- 
lution, we are permanently committed to costly 
social enterprises, but Congress does not recog- 



nize this fact, and the President does not dare 
propose taxation as a substitute for borrowing 
until the people are educated to it. What does 
the press contribute to a solution of this prob- 
lem? It raises a cry for retrenchment, which 
would be a valuable cry indeed if intelligently 
directed, but the cry becomes merely a queru- 
lous complaint when it forms a part of indis- 
criminate protest against the social and eco- 
nomic program of the New Deal. If inflation 
comes upon us to a disastrous extent, the fault 
will rest largely with the newspapers of Amer- 
ica, which refuse to correlate social objectives 
with the costs of government, and watch like 
hungry vultures for the President to make a 
mistake which will let them pounce on him and 
destroy him and his program. 

pointed out, has an uncanny sense of tim- 
ing. He knows when not to do a thing. Build 

the obstacles too high and this means that the 
time to do a thing is never. It means losing 
precious years, wasting efforts, junking vast en- 
terprises, and final failure. If failure comes, and 
disillusion and chaos with it, it will not be 
President Roosevelt’s fault. It will be because 
there is no agency of public opinion consistently 
building with him, and working to fuse the 
three branches of government into an instru- 
mentality for carrying out the will of the people. 

Never in American history was there so great 
need to move from unified political thought 
into unified political organization and action. 
Against this necessary step, the American press, 
responsive to the narrowest interpretation of 
the economic interest of its owners, stands as the 
chief obstacle. I hope that it may not be written 
down in history as the stumbling block over 
which American democracy is to fall. 

A 1938 Press Job' 

N EVER in American history was there so 
great need to move from unified thought 
into unified political organization and action. 
Against this necessary step the American press, 
responsive to the narrowest interpretation of 
the economic interest of its owners, stands as 
the chief obstacle. I hope that it may not be 
written down in history as the stumbling block 
over which American democracy is to fall.” 

Those words were not written by a news- 
paperneedler. They are the conclusion of Irving 
Brant, editor of the editorial page of the St. 
Louis Star-Times , to an article in the current 
issue of Social Education. He is a newspaper- 
man of many years* experience, an expert on 
constitutional questions. If his general sym- 
pathies run toward the New Deal, they are not 
colored by prejudices which disqualify him as 
a critic of newspapers. 

His conclusion is based upon premises of 
continuing gravity to newspapermen: 

That newspapers’ treatment of the Black case 

1 Reprinted by permission from the editorial page of the 
January 22, 1938 issue of Editor and Publisher for dis- 
tribution with the February Letter of the Institute for 
Propaganda Analysis, Inc., 130 Morningside Drive, New 
York City. 

“from first to last was a presentation of news 
colored to produce a desired effect to prevent 
unbiased judgment by the people.” The news- 
paper case against Black, Brant charges, rested 
on the fear that he would be prejudiced against 
big business. 

That a political philosophy which we call the 
New Deal, “completely triumphant in national 
policy, is yet practically unrepresented in that 
upper stratum of the American press which dig- 
nifies itself by the title of the fourth estate.” He 
notes that newspapers which present the news 
fairly and comprehensively— as he concedes 
most do— and which have appealing comic 
strips, can weather astounding opposition to 
editorial policies. 

He doubts this can be a continuing phenome- 
non, but while he believes that no political 
philosophy can remain dominant here without 
forging itself an instrument for journalistic 
expression, he sees no immediate prospect of 
that instrument. Its lack, he believes, is the most 
dangerous single factor in American politics- 
tending to paralyze the legislature, rendering it 
unable to deal with hopes and demands based 
upon economic distress, and by this frustration, 
tending to drive the nation through chaos to 



despair. If radio is the answer for the President, 
it is not for the legislators, which are immedi- 
ately subject to local newspaper information. 

“By mere silence,” he argues, “the press ex- 
poses senators and congressmen to the savage 
attacks of a business lobby, and, when the Presi- 
dent’s position is weakened by a business reces- 
sion, the total lack of a public press supporting 
his objectives permits a sweep of power to the 
forces in opposition. . . . The newspapers of 
America furnish no chiving force for social re- 
form that touches the economic system. They 
are a positive handicap in economic reform. 
And they tend to freeze die legislative branch 
of government.” 

* * • 

If you grant diat there is a New Deal which 
commands the overwhelming support of the 
country on concrete issues, it is hard to reject 
Mr. Brant’s conclusions. Even without granting 
that premise, it must be admitted that the vari- 
ously construed missions of the New Deal have 
met with limited newspaper sympathy, though 
we do not accept the dictum that “newspapers 
furnish no driving force for social reform that 
touches the economic system” or that “they are 
a positive handicap to economic reform.” 

Those terms have to be defined again. Pos- 
sibly the two major economic reforms effected 
by Mr. Roosevelt have been the insurance of 
bank deposits and the regulation of stock spec- 
ulation. There was no strong newspaper opposi- 
tion to either the FDIC or the SEC, nor to the 
divorce of affiliates from deposit banking. 

Newspapers strenuously opposed the NRA, 
apart from the fight on the newspaper code. 
NRA was a “reform” widi failure written on its 
face from birth. It was an effort to reverse the 
generation-long battle against monopoly, 
coupled with an unworkable political device to 
appease labor. The act could be operated until 
the country was conditioned to its necessity, 
which it could not be in the brief minutes be- 
tween enactment and attempted enforcement 
five years ago. 

It failed, not because some newspapers fought 
the 4.0-hour week and the child labor clauses. 
It failed, even before the Supreme Court invali- 
dated it, because our business and political 
intelligence of the day could not make it suc- 

Certainly our technical achievements in man- 
ufacture and distribution have outrun our 

understanding of them. The men who devised 
the Detroit assembly lines 25 years ago had no 
notion then that they were creating a new 
economic order; they were simply taking one 
step after another in what they considered 
progress. Some got rich, and their work changed 
the face of the country— but today few under- 
stand all of its implications. Yet those implica- 
tions must be understood and projected into 
the future, if we are to govern them. 

We believe other editors than Mr. Brant have 
struggled hard and honestly with this problem, 
which is fundamental. We believe they want it 
solved before its weight pulls down the national 
economy, and we do not believe they want it 
solved in the selfish interest of the mythical “60 
Families,” or by further submergence of the 
“forgotten third.” 

The job involves redistribution of wealth— 
but a poll of the Congress, the Cabinet, and 
citizens of all strata would find few in agree- 
ment on how it can be done and to what extent. 
Newspaper editors and publishers are in no 
better accord. To say that an actual or tacit 
conspiracy exists among them to balk social 
progress is absurd. Some have been mulishly 
bigoted in their fight on the New Deal; the 
majority have counseled against moves which 
they considered unsound. Perhaps they have 
not been too convincing. There has been so 
much expediency and clever thinking in W ash- 
ington that it is difficult to follow the general 
trend, or even to find one, of genuine New Deal 

Let us examine the idea that obstructive 
newspaper tactics paralyze the legislature. If 
most newspapers opposed Mr. Roosevelt’s plan 
to reform the Supreme Court, so did a strong 
minority of the President’s friends in Congress 
—before newspapers had printed a line of news 
or comment. That Congress was paralyzed as a 
legislative body, but can it be said that news- 
paper comment intimidated Senator Wheeler, 
Senator Borah, Senator Johnson, Senator Ash- 
urst, or Representative Rayburn? Or Senator 
Guffey, on the other side? Newspapers did not 
cause and could not correct that paralysis, 
which traced directly to Mr. Roosevelt’s mis- 
conception of his mission. 

We cannot go along with Mr. Brant in the 
concept that the voters gave Mr. Roosevelt any 
specific mandate in 1936. They did manifest 
confidence in his general policies, but we doubt 
that any went to the polls understanding clearly 



what Mr. Roosevelt meant when he said “in my 
first term, the forces of reaction have met their 
match; in my next, they will meet their master." 
That is political rhetoric. In the light of recent 
events, it doesn’t stand analysis. 

Those events also brought a message to the 
press. The panic, depression or recession or 
whatever it is that now grips us, arose, we be- 
lieve, from the usual combination of greed and 
ignorance. From the top-salaried men of the 
country down, we are almost as ignorant of 
economic facts as we are of Tagalog. The big 
manufacturer presses for more and more pro- 
duction as prices rise, and is amazed when he 
finds the stuff backing up on his sidings and his 
plant shut down. His workman, certain that the 
sun is now shining for good, hocks the next 18 
months’ wages to buy a radio, automobile, re- 
frigerator, and anything else that can be fi- 
nanced— and is equally amazed when he finds 
there isn’t enough left for a needed suit of 

He and the manufacturer share the blame for 
the paralysis of business, and the degree of 
culpability for each isn’t important. All are 
playing with forces they don’t understand. 
None can say with certainty that we ever 
emerged from the panic that culminated in 
1933, and that the years between 1933 and 1937 
were not a fool’s paradise. No one yet knows 
how far government can go with borrowed 
money, nor how heavily taxes can be imposed 
without drying up the source. 

To argue that we cannot learn the answers 
except by experience is to declare that we are 
still in the age when men feared eclipses as signs 
of divine anger. Those answers won’t be found 
in any panacea. They won’t be found by calling 
names. They won’t be found by trying to split 
Congress to the point where legislative action is 
impossible. They won’t be found in roars of 
“Beat Roosevelt,’’ echoing Senator Vanden- 
burg’s contribution to the 1936 Republican 

Which brings us to the point where we are in 
substantial agreement with Irving Brant. The 
job of informing and of co-ordinating informa- 
tion is the newspaper’s above any other agency. 
It is a reporting job. The basic need is informa- 
tion. If the White House had it, we should not 
be having today’s blank-cartridge battles. If 
Congress had it, we should not be witnessing a 
continuation of the 1937 sterility, in the face of 
the country’s plight. 

We believe that nearly 2,000 newspapers, 
with selfishlv patriotic motives, can perform 
this vital service. We believe that the press can 
bring about the mutual understanding between 
business and government and the public— as 
operators, producers, and consumers— that is 
essential to permanent progress. It will take 
real investigation and convincing writing, func- 
tions of the press which no other agency can 
perform. We see that as the great opportunity 
in 1938. 


1. To understand newspapers better and to be- 
come more familiar with our own newspaper read- 
ing habits, conduct the following experiment: Ask 
each member of the group to make three lists. 2 List 
A should contain the following information: names 
of papers read regularly; average daily and Sunday 
time devoted to each paper; parts of the paper or 
papers regularly read (e.g., columnists, editorials, so- 
ciety, sports, comics, foreign news, local news, sen- 
sational news, headlines only, advertisements, etc.). 
List B should contain the same information if you 
had only fifteen minutes a day for newspaper read- 
ing. List C should contain the following informa- 
tion: If you were advising a high school student how 
best to devote one hour a day to newspaper reading, 

2 This experiment as well as all group experiments 
should be conducted with a spirit of honesty, fair play, 
and desire to see individual activities in group relation- 
ships. It should be borne in mind that the purpose of 


which newspaper or newspapers and which parts 
would you suggest his reading? 

2. Compare these lists. Do they help explain the 
size of the modern newspaper? How do our back- 
grounds and interests influence our reading? Do we 
read as intelligently as we would have high school 
students read? 

3. Go through the main papers in your citv and 
check (V) those headlines which in vour opinion 
deserve greater prominence; place an X beside those 
which you believe deserve less prominence. Indicate 
where you think these should be placed (front page, 
inside, second section, etc.). Compare vour placing 
with those of other members of the group. Discuss 
the possible reasons the editors of the newspapers 

such experiments and discussion is not to lay bare in- 
dividual foibles but to build a composite picture of 
activity based upon individual activities. 



had for placing the headlines the way they did. 
What are the reasons for your own placing? 

4. Discuss in the group the relative importance 
which should be given in the press to crime, labor 
disputes, international wars, unusual happenings 
like the birth and activities of the Dionne Quin- 
tuplets, sports, scientific experiments, local politics, 
education, etc. It will be necessary to define clearly 
some basic values generally recognized by modern 
society to which all these can be referred. 

5. Before reading the news account of a current 
important public speech, read the complete text as 
printed in the paper. Indicate briefly how you 
would have reported the speech, what headlines 
you would have written, what editorial comments you 
would have made. Read the speech again and under- 
line the parts of the speech which you believe the 
speaker emphasized by a rise in his voice or a dra- 
matic pause. Does this make any difference in the 
way you would have reported the speech? Compare 
your reporting, headlines, and editorial comments 
with those of several newspapers. 

6. Make a dictionary of Name Calling (from news 
accounts, quotations, editorials, headlines, cartoons, 
etc.) for the newspapers which you read. Add similar 
illustrations to your “Blah’' Dictionary. 

7. The American Constitution and the “Bill of 
Rights” frequently mention various kinds of free- 
dom to be preserved. Are these freedoms modified 
and explained by the Constitution’s emphasis on 
the common good, “the public welfare”? What does 
this mean for editorial policy? Does advertising pol- 
icy affect editorial policy? Do pressure groups influ- 
ence editorial policy? Compare freedom of the press 
in the United States with such freedom in other 

8. Discuss the difficulty of unbiased news gather- 
ing and reporting. Attend a strike or political rally 
with a friend who has political and economic views 
different from your own. Stay together so that you 
hear and see the same things, but do not talk about 
what you see and hear. Interview speakers, leaders, 
and members of the audience. (This may be done 
separately.) Then separate and write as accurate and 
unbiased a newspaper article as possible. Ask the 
group to discuss the two reports, their differences 
in tone and bias, emphasis, omissions, etc. 

9. Discuss the effect of one’s home training, edu- 
cation, reading, interests, etc., on reporting. Of what 
does background consist? How much of it is de- 
termined by the people with whom we work, eat, 
play, talk? The place where we live? The books, 
periodicals, and papers we read? 

10. Discuss what might be termed “trivial” and 
what “important” in daily news. Give each member 
of the group a copy of the same paper. Ask every 
one to mark each article with a T for trivial, a U 
for undecided, or an / for important. Total the 
T' s, U’ s, and V s for every article. Does this experi- 
ment help us understand better the complicated 
task of editing a newspaper? 

1 1 . Make a collection of cartoons and pictures ex- 
pressing points of view with which you agree. Make 
a similar collection for points of view with which 
you disagree. You will doubtless wish to include 
such subjects as war and peace, prominent national 
and international statesmen, taxation, other politi- 
cal, social, and economic developments. Discuss the 
factual accuracy of these cartoons. Their educational 
and informative value. Are all cartoons propaganda? 

12. Discuss the difference in form, intent, and 
effectiveness of such propaganda methods as the 
subtleties of a newspaper’s policy and lay-out, “col- 
ored” news reporting and headlines, the more ob- 
vious propaganda of editorials and cartoons. 

13. In connection with the study of newspapers 
as molders and reflectors of public opinion and prop- 
aganda, it would be well to consider the similar 
effect of magazines. Make a list of all the magazines 
regularly read by the members of the group. Indi- 
cate the number of readers for each magazine. From 
as many local newsstands as possible secure the aver- 
age weekly or monthly sales for these and more 
widely read magazines. Secure similar figures from 
the local library. If possible, secure similar figures 
from the magazines themselves for local subscrip- 
tions. Compare these magazines with the magazine 
reading in Middletown. (Cf. Robert S. and Mary 
Merrell Lynd, Middletown , pp. 158, 231, and 239 
(1929), and Middletown in Transition, pp. 258-260 
(1937), New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.) 
Study several issues of each magazine. For each 
list the proportions of space devoted to such 
subjects as fiction, women’s and household articles; 
entertainment; informative articles on national and 
international affairs, economics, business, politics, 
education; pictures and cartoons; editorials; adver- 
tisements; etc. Compare these figures. Discuss the 
influence of these magazines on the readers. Discuss 
the magazines which in your opinion are the best 
for the subjects in which you are interested. Are 
you now forming your opinions on the basis of lim- 
ited reading and discussion? If you had more time 
for reading, which magazines would you add to your 
shelf? Can you find time to read these? 

Volume I 

MARCH, 1938 

Number 6 

The Movies and Propaganda 

C ONTROVERSY has recently broken out 
over alleged propaganda in the newsreels. 
The National Council for the Prevention of 
War has criticized certain of the Panay films as 
providing “a running track of dialogue drip- 
ping with fiery tirades directed against the 
Japanese and having an unquestioned effect of 
arousing the American temper/’ One explana- 
tion of the sinking of the Panay is that it was 
deliberately planned by the Japanese to gauge 
American public opinion, to determine whether 
the aroused American propaganda against Ja- 
pan would be strong enough to alter Japanese 
plans for further aggression in China. The same 
explanation is applied to Japanese attacks on 
British subjects and property in Shanghai, and 
to Japanese attacks on Russians in the Amur 
region. Whether or not the Japanese committed 
these acts for trial balloon purposes, it is certain 
that the Japanese authorities are using Ameri- 
can, British, and Russian responses to the acts 
to measure opinion in America, Britain, and 
Russia, and are proceeding accordingly. 

The March of Time release, Inside Nazi 
Germany , 1938, “is a flaming pro-Nazi story,’’ 
according to Martin Proctor quoted by The 
Nexo York Post. Warner Brothers refused to 
show this film in any of their 460 theaters. But 
Dr. William E. Dodd, retiring United States 
Ambassador to Germany, declared: “The mem- 
bers of every American family, young and old, 
who believe in liberty and democracy should 
by all means see Inside Nazi Germany which 
March of Time has so brilliantly produced. It 
tells the truth about Hitler’s government.’’ 

Apparently there is little doubt in the minds 
of these critics as to the power of such films to 
“influence others to some predetermined end 
by appealing to their thoughts and feelings.” 

The motion picture dramatist, like the writer 
of popular fiction, knows the keys to strike to 
arouse the proper emotions. He secures stock 
responses by appeals to our interest in sex and 
sentimentality; violence and excitement; na- 
tionalistic symbols; sweetness, optimism, and 
happy endings; wish-fulfilment through reveries 
and day dreams; popular prejudices. These ap- 

peals and interests are combined in popular 
stereotypes which can play significant parts 
in conscious or unconscious propaganda. For 

1. The successful culmination of a romance zvill 
solve most of the dilemmas of the hero and the 
heroine. What young lovers are going to live on in a 
world of insecurity and unemployment reaches the 
screen only rarely, as, for example, in Gentlemen 
Are Born. 

2. Catch the criminal and you solve the crime 
problem. Only rarely does a movie give us some 
insight into unemployment, slums, insecurity, as 
causes for crime; notable exceptions are Dead End , 
The Devil Is a Sissy, and I Am a Fugitive From a 
Chain Gang. 

3. War and the preparation for war are thrilling, 
heroic, and, glamorous. For one Broken Lullaby, All 
Quiet on the Western Front, or The Road Back, we 
have had dozens of films such as West Point of the 
Air, Annapolis Farewell, Flirtation Walk, Shipmates 
Forever, Here Comes the Navy, Devil Dogs of the 
Air, and Nai>y Blue and Gold. 

4. The good life is the acquisitive life, with its 
emphasis on luxury, fine homes and automobiles, 
evening dress, swank and suavity. Note, for example, 
the economic level of residences shown in a random 
selection of 40 feature motion pictures. Of the 228 
different residences appearing in these movies, 22 
per cent were classifiable as ultra- weal thy, 47 per cent 
as wealthy, and 25 per cent moderate. Onlv 4 per 
cent were shown as visibly poor. Note, too, that 
poverty on the screen is not infrequently a bit ro- 
mantic. It is not the mean, bitter, grinding poverty 
of the slums of our cities and share-cropper regions. 
Further, when we note the heavy emphasis in selec- 
tion of leading male characters from the commercial 
and professional groups, with almost no representa- 
tion from the ranks of labor, we get some explana- 
tion of the lop-sided notion of the world of 
workaday living held by many young people. 

5. Certain races, nationalities, or minority groups 
are comical, dull-witted, or possess traits that mark 
them as greatly different from and inferior to native 
white Americans. We see this in the portrayal of the 
Negro in roles of inferiority, in the monoded and 
simpering Englishman. The motion picture, of 
course, is not the only medium of communication 
that propagandizes in this fashion. Studies of the 




stereotypes held by college students show that many 
influences have been at work in producing grossly 
inaccurate portraits of races and nationalities. 

Thus, the motion picture while giving people 
enjoyment through fantasy, gives this enjoy- 
ment within the framework of commonly ac- 
cepted stereotypes and thereby exerts an influ- 
ence which tends to strengthen them and to 
prevent criticism of them. Only in rare instances 
is it an agency for illuminating problems of 
human conduct, for developing social insight, 
for encouraging a review of our beliefs and cus- 
toms, of our modes of governments, and of the 
relationships between peoples and races. Con- 
tenting themselves with evoking stock responses 
to such stereotypes as those listed, the motion 
picture producers provide few fdms which give 
opportunity for other responses. Eight major 
producing companies dominate the film indus- 
try. They are influenced not alone by the stereo- 
types common to America but also by stereotypes 
agreeable to the censors of foreign countries. 
According to percentages derived from the 1937 
income estimates reported in a recent issue of 
Variety 1 44.6 per cent of the gross income of 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 37.2 per cent of the in- 
come of Paramount, and 35 per cent of the 
income of Twentieth Century-Fox came from 
foreign sources. Small wonder, then, that It 
Can't Happen Here was not produced, that 
British imperialism has often been shown in a 
favorable light by Hollywood movies. 

An easy, quick, and partially valid reply to 
the charges of emphasis on certain stereotypes 
is that such emphasis is essential to profitable 
mass appeal. Yet this answer is too facile. We 
know that such motion pictures as Dead End , 
The Story of Louis Pasteur , and The Life of 
Emile Zola have played profitably to huge audi- 
ences. We know that the policy of Warner 
Brothers in producing clarifying social docu- 
ments such as They Won't Forget, Black Legion , 
I Am a Fugitive, have met with financial success. 

To recognize and deal with propaganda in a 
motion picture we must ask: 

1. What are the assumptions about life and hu- 
man nature on which this film rests? 2. 'What values 
or goals do the characters in the play consider 
important? 3. Do we think that they are important? 
4. Is this film a defense of things as they are? 5. Is it 
an argument for change? 6. Were the problems of 
the characters remote from contemporary conditions 
or were they closely related to the realities of today? 

7. Were the relationships between the characters on 
the screen traditional? 8. Would they be acceptable 
to intelligent people today? 9. Who wants us to 
think this way? 10. What are his interests? 11. Do 
they coincide with the interests of ourselves, of most 

To determine the nature and direction of the 
motion picture as a carrier of propaganda we 
must ask: What role does it play and what role 
might it play in American life ? Shall it provide 
entertainment judged only by its power to get 
people’s minds off uninspiring work, dreary 
surroundings, defeats, dissatisfactions? Shall it 
provide social illumination, contribute some- 
thing to people’s understanding of themselves 
and of the world in which they live? Shall it pro- 
vide both, as both have been provided by the 
great creators of literature and the drama? The 
characteristic of the greatest literature is that it 
enlightens while it also entertains; it gives pleas- 
ure through bringing people to understand and 
to respond more fully to what they did not 
understand before. 

Such a conception of the role of the motion 
picture enables us to look with favor upon de- 
lightful fantasy or humor as exemplified in 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarf s, It Happened 
One Night , and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. It 
leads us to praise the portrayal of social realities 
as found in Dead End, The Life of Emile Zola, 
or The Story of Louis Pasteur. At the same time 
it challenges those motion pictures which are 
vehicles for pseudo-realities, incorrect generali- 
zations, and misleading stereotypes. 

( Analysts of propaganda must ask what part 
the motion picture plays in effecting or hamper- 
ing social change. Does it reduce or increase 
intelligent social criticism? In England, for ex- 
ample, Lord Harewood defended the institu- 
tion of betting, many of the consequences of 
which he recognized as undesirable, on the 
ground that it occupied public interest and 
attention, and so prevented people from becom- 
ing dissatisfied with the conditions under which 
they are living. Is the same defense made for 
movies based on the common stereotypes we 
have listed? 

To ask that the motion picture should con- 
tribute to social enlightenment is to ask no 
more than that it should do something which 
has always been done by great novelists and 
dramatists. It is asking that the motion picture 
industry should do more of what it has already 
done so well in such films as The Life of Emile 

1 Variety, January 19, 1938. V. 129, No. 6, pp. 1 and 8. 


3 1 

Zola. The success of such films proves that pub- 
lic taste is capable of appreciating films of much 
greater social value than the majority that are 
produced by the industry. Here the student of 
propaganda must ask why the industry seems to 
lag behind, and even to hold back, the develop- 
ment of public taste. He might also ask whether 
the praise that has been given to the motion 
picture by some distinguished men in the indus- 
try on the grounds that it allayed social discon- 
tent, was not perhaps a factor in the situation. 


The newsreels are another branch of the the- 
atrical film industry. All newsreel companies 
claim that they are impartial in presenting 
news. Nevertheless, an analysis of newsreels 
made by two different companies showed that 
in 1930 there were four times as many items 
favoring the wet side of the prohibition ques- 
tion as the dry side, that there were twelve times 
as many items dealing with war and defense 
preparations and the like as with peace.j We 
know, too, of the failure of the Paramount Com- 
pany to release at once newsreels showing the 
killing of workers in the Republic Steel strike 
in Chicago. This failure to release the films was 
of undoubted value in building up public an- 
tipathy to the alleged violence of the strikers. 
Newsreels, too, were used in California to de- 
feat Upton Sinclair. The following quotation 
from an article by R. S. Ames in Harper's Maga- 
zine for March, 1935, describes this activity: 

. . . But by mid-October conservatives of both parties 
realized that Sinclair could be stopped by no ordi- 
nary methods. ... So the screen entered politics. 
Surprised patrons of neighborhood movie houses 
were suddenly treated to pictures of an indigent 
army disembarking from box cars on Los Angeles 
sidings. These repulsive-looking bums appeared to 
have swarmed in from all corners of the United 
States, determined to enjoy the easy pickings of the 
promised Sinclair regime. . . . This interpretation of 
current events was strangely moving, although those 
with critical eyes wondered why the vagrapts were 
wearing make-up; and some with good memories at 
once recognized excerpts from the Warner Brothers' 
previous film fiction Wild Boys of the Road. The 
Sinclair cohorts exposed this fraud and the movies 
were forced to abandon the use of stock shots there- 
after. 2 * * 

In spite of these criticisms, a careful examina- 
tion of newsreel content over a period of years 
shows that they have presented unbiased factual 
information on many current controversies. 

Advertising Films 

Most non-theatrical movies are so-called ad- 
vertising films. They may advertise a product 
directly or they may, as do many insurance com- 
panies, deal with a field of health and merely 
present the name or insignia of the company on 
the title. They may represent institutional ad- 
vertising in which a number of allied industries 
have pooled their resources to advertise not a 
specific advertised brand but the product itself, 
like lumber or cement. Or they may show scenic 
beauties and splendors in various parts of the 
world and may be made available through 
steamship companies and foreign governments.^ 

Schools receive many films of this type. 8 The 
magazine, Business Week , October 30, 1937, 

WTien a large public utility heard of the non- 
profit work of the National Educational Film 
Foundation, Inc., 11333 Chandler Blvd., North 
Hollywood, Calif., it donated $60,000 worth of film 
negative which it could no longer use in its own 
public relations work. This film will be recut and 
re-edited to make educational films for free distribu- 
tion to school children all over the country. The 
Foundation is looking for more negatives and will 
grant publicity privileges under certain restrictions. 

What can be done about advertising films? 
Here are questions which one superintendent 
of schools has pupils in his high school apply: 

Most of our films that are shown by the school are 
furnished free by the various commercial organiza- 
tions. In some cases we only pay transportation 
charges, and in some cases we receive them without 
any charge. Why do you think these commercial 
firms furnish these films for schools? 

The film you will see is furnished us by the Na- 
tional Industrial Council, a federation of national, 
state, and local industrial associations, sponsored b; 
the National Association of Manufacturers. After 
you have seen the film, will you fill out below why 
they should be interested in furnishing this film to 
the schools? 

What ideas did thev trv to get across to vou? 

Sometimes the only true picture is the whole pic- 
ture. True, isolated facts mav be misleading, if other 

8 See the article by S. H. Walker and Paul Sklar, “Busi- 
ness Finds Its Voice,” in the February, 1938 issue of 
Harper's Magazine, 176: 317-329. 

2 Ames, Richard Sheridan. “The Screen Enters Politics, 

Will Hollywood Produce More Propaganda?” Harper's 

Magazine, 170: 473-4. 



true facts are not related. Do you think that certain 
essential facts were not brought out which should 
have been brought out? If so, what would you sug- 
gest was ignored in this picture? 

In general, do you think that the schools should 
show films furnished to us by different organizations 
free to our classes as part of our educational pro- 

When you see one of our films, how do you try to 
tell if it is 

1. Advertising? 

2. Propaganda for an idea or ideas? 

3. Portrayal of facts? 1 2 3 4 

Government Films 

Recently the government has produced films 
which deal with critical social issues, for ex- 
ample, The Plow that Broke the Plains (Dust 
Bowl) and The River (Flood Control). The 
WPA also has produced and released a number 
of motion pictures dealing with its work. 

These government efforts have been bitterly 
attacked, highly praised. The analyst of propa- 

4 Our comment: All three of these may be propaganda. 

ganda must determine, first, the role that any 
government agency should play in informing 
the public of what it is doing; second, the ex- 
tent to which this information is misleading 
and biased in its presentation; third, whether 
the government should rest its case with merely 
sensitizing its viewers to a significant social 
problem such as soil erosion and flood control, 
or whether it should move on from there to 
offer specific solutions of these problems. 

Suggested Readings 

The following books are suggested for further con- 
sideration of the movies and propaganda: Adler, 
Mortimer, Art and Prudence, New York: Longmans 
Green and Company, 1937; Charters, W. W., Mo- 
tion Pictures and Youth, A Summary, New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1935; Dale, Edgar, The 
Content of Motion Pictures, New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1935; Holaday, Perry W. and Stod- 
dard, George D., Getting Ideas from the Movies, 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1933; Peter- 
son, Ruth C. and Thurstone, L. L., Motion Pictures 
and the Social Attitudes of Children , New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1933. 


1. Are movie directors responsible for education 
or for entertainment? Consider the desires, interests, 
and demands of movie-goers, of producers. Why do 
people go to the movies? What do they want? Why 
are moving pictures produced? 

2. Who is responsible for the cheap, immature 
level of many moving pictures? Commercial propa- 
gandists, the public itself, or both? It is easy to find 
fault with the films, but just where must we turn 
to fix responsibility? Where is the real lever on 
which we may press for improvement? 

3. The same problem affects radio programs. The 
great and growing popularity of good concert and 
opera music shows how the public taste can be edu- 
cated. Manv institutions and individuals cooperated 
in bringing this about, not least the Metropolitan 
Opera Company, the National Broadcasting Com- 
pany, wealthy patrons of music, and the public 
schools in their excellent cooperation with the Dam- 
rosch programs. Discuss similar methods for edu- 
cating the public taste for movies. VTiat can you do 
in your community? 

4. Ask each member of the group to make a list 
of the films which he liked best and the common 
qualities, if any, in those films. Compare these lists. 
Is there, then, much truth in the statement that 
Hollywood gives to a large audience of average 
Americans what they seem to want? 

5. Do the movies propagate “false ideals”? If so, 
how can this be avoided? Should we censure the 
movies? Arouse public opinion against poor movies? 
Educate the public to see movies more critically? 
How does a group answer these questions? 

6. The subtle power of movie propaganda comes 
from the fact that ideals about happiness, marriage, 
love, success, etc., are seldom clearly formulated by 
the actors. They are assumed or taken for granted 
by the whole story. Thus, we look at the scene, slip 
into the easy way of accepting what every one ac- 
cepts. We are one, in sympathy, with the crowd on 
the stage. And the action moves rapidly. Discuss the 
effect of this situation on our critical thinking. 

7. Discuss some of the assumptions taken for 
granted by the stories of current films. For instance, 
is happiness the chief goal of life? Do a fine house 
and plenty of servants and large automobiles mean 
greatness? Do sentimental kindness and altruism 
appear as the marks of a great and good person? 
How much is the status quo questioned for its ef- 
ficiency, honesty, ethics? Does the gangster who be- 
comes rich feel that he has been successful? Does he 
experience those “good” things which most people 
want — happiness, a sense of creation and contribu- 
tion, prestige, power, the elation of being alive? 

Volume I 

APRIL, 1938 

Number 7 

What’s Beneath the Label ? 

I N our monthly letter for November, 1937, we 
outlined seven common propaganda devices. 
Among these are Name Calling and Glittering 
Generalities. We now analyze in greater detail 
how these devices affect our beliefs and acts. 
Our interest in this analysis lies in penetration 
below the surface appearance of things so that 
a deeper understanding of social events may 

The saying, “A rose by any other name would 
smell as sweet,” in its proverbial use is a dan- 
gerous half-truth. Our reactions to an object, a 
person, an organization, a practice, or a pro- 
posal of any kind are powerfully influenced by 
the words used to describe them. 

Here are illustrations of the effects created by 

1. A generation ago, a certain kind of “corn 
syrup” was first marketed under the artificial name 
of “Karo.” Although an edible substance, the essen- 
tial ingredient in this liquid, glucose , looked and 
sounded too much like glue to appeal to most house- 
wives and consumers. This detrimental association 
was avoided by the use of the new term “Karo” 
about which could be built fresh meanings helpful 
in the marketing of the product. 

2. Notice the difference between our responses to 
the same man when he is introduced as “Mr. John 
W. Smith” and when he is presented as “Dr. J. Wall- 
ingford Smith.” The title and the suggestion of dis- 
tinction conferred by the latter form give a higher 
status and power than that conveyed by “Mr. John 
W. Smith.” When he was campaigning for the presi- 
dency in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt referred to his 
opponent as “Professor” Wilson, although Mr. Wil- 
son was then Governor of New Jersey and had been 
president of Princeton University. Mr. Roosevelt’s 
hope was that his label would create in the voters’ 
minds a picture of an impractical bookish person 
unfitted for the serious masculine business of being 
America’s Chief Executive. Anti-New Deal cartoons 
have repeatedly employed the same method against 
“brain trusters.” 

3. In New York City the Consolidated Gas Com- 
pany has recently changed its corporate title to the 
Consolidated Edison Company. Many other electric 
concerns throughout America have similarly used 
the inventor’s name. Why? Because the public util- 
ity industry had fallen into popular disfavor, it may 
have used this means to rehabilitate itself by a nom- 

inal link with an idolized figure in science and in- 
vention. An impressive and agreeable label turneth 
away wrath. 

4. Modern defenders of the capitalist or profit 
system frequently use the phrase, the enterprise sys- 
tem. The reason? A vague, friendly “aroma” sur- 
rounds the concept of enterprise; it calls up such 
popularly admired traits as thrift and independence, 
deeds of courage, exploration, and noble accom- 
plishment. “Company” unions have recently been 
converted into “independent” unions for essentially 
the same reason. The recent use of the term “con- 
servator” instead of “receiver” for a closed bank 
tends to make more palatable the uncomfortable 
fact of bankruptcy. Similarly the current economic 
“depression” is called a “recession”; and what is 
actually “death” insurance is sold as “life” insur- 

5. The great advantages of a verbal pattern which 
will help rather than hinder one’s objectives are 
demonstrated in the career of Upton Sinclair. For 
many years he had run as a Socialist candidate in 
California for such offices as Governor and U. S. 
Senator, but he never received more than 60,000 
votes. In 1934 he campaigned as a Democratic can- 
didate, and, though defeated, received clo^e to a 
million votes. Mr. Sinclair’s philosophy had not 
changed, but he recognized that the content of his 
ideas was more acceptable under one name than 
under another. In searching for a slogan which 
would serve as a vote-getter, he coined the phrase 
“End Poverty in California” and noticed that the 
initials spelled the word EPIC. The EPIC plan thus 
became the shorthand way of referring to a program 
of immediate and partial socialization of industry 
and agriculture for the direct benefit of the unem- 
ployed, who were to produce goods and services for 
one another and, indirectly, for the benefit of all 
taxpayers, who would be relieved of their support. 
This plan doubtless would have been overwhelm- 
ingly rejected even by its beneficiaries had it been 
designated frankly as “experimental socialism,” 
which it was by history and dictionary definition. 
Epic suggests the high adventures of a great crusade, 
the legendary heroism of some saga, the noble deeds 
of a famous poem or historical romance, and the 
enthusiastic visions of a younger and happier world. 
Almost any conception, effectively linked with such 
a background, will make headway. 

These examples of “labels” illustrate the im- 
portance in influencing public opinion of the 
use of language apart from the actual concepts. 




How Labels Influence Attitudes 

A simple test can be employed to show how 
much one’s judgment of the desirability of a 
particular course of action is influenced by the 
kind of label attached to it. First, give to any 
group of people selected at random from an 
American community the following sentences 
with these instructions: “Draw a ring around 
the A if you agree with the sense of the proposi- 
tion; draw a ring around the D if you disagree 
with the statement.” 

AD 1. We would have much cheaper electric 
light and power if this industry were owned and 
operated by various governmental units for the ben- 
efit of all the people. 

AD 2. No gifted boy or girl should be denied the 
advantages of higher education just because his par- 
ents lack the money to send him to college. 

A D 3. The Federal Government should provide 
to all classes of people opportunity for complete in- 
surance at cost against accident, sickness, premature 
death, and old age. 

AD 4. All banks and insurance companies should 
be run on a non-profit basis like the schools. 

AD 5. Higher income taxes on persons with in- 
comes of more than $10,000 a year should be levied 

A D 6. The only way most people will ever be 
able to live in modern sanitary homes is for the gov- 
ernment to build them on a non-profit basis. 

AD 7. Many more industries and parts of indus- 
tries should be owned and managed cooperatively 
by representatives of workers, consumers, techni- 
cians, and administrators. 

The reader should mark the seven items as 
directed before proceeding further. 

In most groups the degree of agreement will 
be at least 50 per cent. 

Now prepare for a jolt. None of these poli- 
cies is at present generally operative in this 
country. Every single one of these statements is 
derived from the Socialist party platforms dat- 
ing back to the Nineties. Most persons are taken 
aback by this discover)’. It indicates clearly that 
when propositions are judged on their merit 
alone, more persons favor them than when the 
issues are confused by identification with prej- 
udicial stereotypes. Word-reactions rather than 
detailed appraisals of a philosophy and its ideals 
are what we commonly encounter. To check 
this generalization, repeat the test with a simi- 
lar audience, but this time tell them in advance 
that these propositions were first developed as 
political planks by socialists and that you wish 
to find out how “socialistically” inclined they 

are. Under these circumstances, the percentage 
of agreement will be much smaller than before. 
The “mental set” created by past training and 
environment is chiefly responsible for this dif- 
ference. A situation such as this shows how nec- 
essary it is that education try to provide learners 
with facts about a problem (including facts con- 
cerning their own natures) before an adequate 
consideration or solution of the problem can be 

“Unconscious” Fascism 

Recent pyschological research shows that the 
mental mechanisms operating in the field of 
social attitudes produce curious results. Not 
only may Americans be more “socialistic” than 
they realize, but, paradoxically enough, they 
may also be more “fascistic” than they realize. 
To demonstrate this, another test similar in 
pattern to the one above should be taken. Place 
a plus sign (-{-) before a statement if you are 
disposed to agree with it and a minus sign (— ) 
if you disagree. 

1. Labor unions are all right, but we can’t have 

2. In order to give American workers more jobs, 
the United States should stop immigration. 

3. A larger navy should be built to give men jobs 
and to protect our foreign markets. 

4. Most people on relief are living in reasonable 

5. Any able-bodied man could get a job right now 
if he tried hard enough. 

6. The unemployed should be given military 
training so that our country could be protected in 
time of war. 

7. Most labor trouble is caused by radical agita- 

A simple check of the people tested will show 
that practically all persons who answer these 
statements affirmatively will reject vigorously 
the label “Fascist”— they would probably prefer 
to call themselves “Conservatives,” “Republi- 
cans,” or “Jeffersonian Democrats.” As a matter 
of fact, these ideas are essentially those held 
by Hitler and the German National Socialists. 
“Esteemed” practices can exist under a “dis- 
liked” label; “despised” practices may hide un- 
der an “admired” label. In reaching a decision 
about any issue, always ask: (1) Have I “dis- 
counted” properly the distorting influence of 
certain names? Do I know what the names ac- 
tually mean in and out of their context? (2) 
Have I given due weight to the observable con- 



sequences in human welfare of specific actions 
associated with a certain viewpoint? 

Measuring “Emotional” Differences of Words 

Another way to illustrate the power of labels 
to influence behavior appears in this experi- 
ment. Begin with a series of political party 
names, some referring to real, active, present- 
day organizations, some of historical signifi- 
cance but now encountered only in textbooks, 
and some wholly fictitious. Here is a possible 
list: Commonwealth, Communist, Conserva- 
tive, Constitution, Democratic, Farm-Labor, 
Federalist, Independence, International, La- 
bor, Liberal, Liberty, National Welfare, Patri- 
ots, Peoples, Progressive, Prohibition, Radical 
Reform, Republican, Socialist, Technocratic, 
Workers. Print each one of these terms on a 
plain card. Then give the complete set of 
twenty-two cards with these instructions to the 
person being “tested:” 

On each of the accompanying cards is the name 
of a single political party. You probably do not feel 
the same way about each one. Assuming that the 
platforms of all these parties were the same, arrange 
the names on these cards in the order of your liking 
for them. Try to answer for yourself the question, 
“Which name do I like best?” Then ask, “For which 
name do I care least?” Finally, place all the remain* 
ing party names in their proper positions according 
to your general liking for them. 

In previous demonstrations of this experi- 
ment certain results have occurred regularly. 
Despite the best efforts of people to react to the 
pure sight and sound of a name as such, they 
usually find it impossible to do so. Its “asso- 
ciations” — real or imaginary — constantly in- 
fluence its relative position. When averaged, 
certain labels like “Democratic” and “Repub- 
lican” are highly favored by most representa- 
tive groups in American society; others like 
“Communist,” “Radical Reform,” and “Tech- 
nocratic” are placed near the bottom; and 
others like “Liberal,” “Federalist,” “Constitu- 
tion,” and “Commonwealth” occupy a middle 
position. A central rank is what one would ex- 
pect for all names if they were equally new and 
indifferently accepted, and if no special influ- 
ence making for acceptance or rejection were 

The history of language shows that many 
words are constantly losing and acquiring 
meanings. The word “Christian” made the an- 

cient pagans livid with rage. A “good” term 
may fall into disfavor and a “bad” term win 
esteem under changed conditions. The label 
“Republican” was a term of reproach during 
the French Revolutionary period (and still is 
in many European countries), but in most parts 
of the United States since the Civil War it has 
represented the height of “respectability.” In 
America the term “Socialist” generally arouses 
an antagonistic emotion, yet in France the Rad- 
ical Socialists have long been a major party in 
governmental affairs; and in Germany the fol- 
lowers of Hitler call themselves the National 
Socialist German Workers Party in order to 
benefit from the good will which had accrued 
to that label in the pre-Nazi period. In this 
country partial socialist conceptions or actions 
have developed and have proved a distinct as- 
set to those who have sponsored them, but the 
socialist label itself as a name has definitely 
handicapped those who used it in appealing 
for votes. 

Demonstrating the “Halo” Effect 

From what we have so far discovered, it is 
plain that certain terms have what is called a 
positive or attractive “halo” and others a nega- 
tive or repelling one. Such “power-words” are 
the favorites in the vocabulary of propagandists. 
Neutral terms are rarely used because they 
lack the exciting quality demanded by those 
who wish to mold public opinion in accordance 
with their interests. As we suggested at the be- 
ginning of this letter, the names of individuals 
themselves may possess these same character- 
istics. The following exercise which may be used 
by the reader on himself or, better, with small 
groups should produce additional insight in 
this area: 

Examine this list of eight figures prominent in 
national and international affairs. For each trait 
rank these individuals on a scale of 1 to 8 so that the 
person who, you consider, stands highest in this par- 
ticular trait receives a i, the person lowest an 8. 
Example: Run down the column headed “Intellec- 
tual Power” and place a i next to the name of the 
person in this list who in your opinion has more of 
this capacity than the others; place a 2 next to the 
name of the individual whom you rank second; and 
so on until each person has received a number, and 
8 stands opposite the individual whom you rank 
lowest in this respect. Do the same for all the other 
traits indicated. Take special care with the last col- 
umn, “General Esteem.” 

3 6 


\ Trait 

Name \ 

Intellectual Power 



Physical Attractiveness 

Stability of Character 

General Esteem 

Earl Browder 

Henry Ford 

Adolf Hitler 

Alfred Landon 

John L. Lewis 

F. D. Roosevelt 

Joseph Stalin 




If this chart is filled in by the reader, examine 
it and see if some person is consistently high 
and another regularly low. If a number of peo- 
ple participate, average their rankings and see 
if a similar tendency is present. Most experi- 
ments with this material show that the indi- 
vidual who ranks i in any of these qualities 
rarely falls below a 2 or 5 in any of the others; 
conversely, the man who gets an 8 in any trait 
seldom rises above a 4 or 5 in any other. For 
example, people do not give half their high 
marks to Hitler and half to Stalin; instead, they 
bestow them all upon one or the other. Simi- 
larly, most people put Roosevelt and Landon 
ahead of Thomas and Browder on these traits. 

The high degree of relationship among these 
qualities is largely a result of the “halo” or gen- 
eral total impression that has been created 
about each personality. These differences in 
“prestige” are important; one must be con- 
stantly on one’s guard to avoid being misled by 
them. Here, as always, analysis must be our 
chief instrument in dealing with the propa- 
gandas which surround us. We must ask: What 
does this particular name mean to me? Why do 
1 respond favorably or unfavorably? To what 
extent has this response been the result of my 
own analysis of the name and its meaning? To 
what extent has it been the result of my being 
“conditioned” to such response by the opinions 
of my parents, my school, and neighborhood 
associates, by sermons, newspaper accounts, 
radio talks, and newsreel presentations? For ex- 
ample, if I like or dislike Henry Ford or Frank- 
lin Roosevelt or Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, 
am I able to state the actual reasons for my like 
or dislike? 

Suggested Readings 

Asch, S. E., Block, Helen, and Hertzman, M. 
“Studies in the Principles of Judgments and Atti- 
tudes,” Journal of Psychology, V (1938), 219-251. 

Hartmann, G. W. “The Contradiction Between 
the Feeling-Tone of Political Party Names and Pub- 
lic Response to Their Platforms,” Journal of Social 
Psychology, VII (1936), 336-357. 

Hartmann, G. W. “The Social Attitudes and In- 
formation of American Teachers,” in The Teacher 
and Society. (First Yearbook of the John Dewey So- 
ciety for the Study of Education and Culture; W. 
H. Kilpatrick, editor), New York: D. Appleton-Cen- 
tury Company, 1937. VIII, 174-230. 

Markey, J. F., The Symbolic Process. New York: 
Harcourt Brace and Company, 1928. 

Stagner, Ross. “Fascist Attitudes,” Journal of So- 
cial Psychology, VII (1936), 309-319; 43 8 “454- 


1. Can plain facts be made more appealing for for a new political party which would combine the 

the consumer’s dollar than fancy packages and political methods of Father Coughlin, the late Sena- 

pretty pictures? For instance, would you take away tor Huey Long, and Dr. Townsend with the polit- 

the picture on a tin of plums? What facts do you ical theories of the Wisconsin Progressives, the 

want on a tin of plums? About a suit of clothes? North Dakota Non-Partisan League, and the 

About eggs, milk, vegetables? Farmer-Labor Party. Can these be combined? How 

2. Make an “Anthology of Indictments,” stating effective are such slogans as “Share the Wealth,” 

as fairly as you can for all the major prevailing social “Social Justice,” and “Thirty Dollars Every Thurs- 

and political conflicts the prejudices of both sides. day”? 

This “Anthology” will really be a list of labels with 4. Words, like labels, carry different meanings to 

meanings, definitions, and illustrations. different people. A careful discussion of the follow- 

3. Discuss what would be the best name and label ing sentence will help illustrate the need for work- 



able definitions: “The newspapers of America fur- 
nish no driving force for social reform that touches 
the economic system.” 

5. Is fear a danger to democracy? Where there is 
fear is there a real or an imagined danger? What 

fears do the following labels represent and what 
are the real and imagined dangers behind them: 
“economic royalist,” “red,” “regimentation,” “social- 
ized medicine,” “racket,” “purge”? 

Volume 1 

MAY, 193 8 

Number 8 

Propaganda Techniques of 
German Fascism 

W HAT is truly vicious/' observed The New 
York Times in an editorial, September 1, 
1937, not propaganda but a monopoly of 
it.” This monopoly is seen most clearly in to- 
talitarian states where all channels of commu- 
nication are controlled by the government. The 
extent to which the propaganda machinery of 
a country has been brought under the control 
of one organization or a group of related or- 
ganizations is a useful measure of the degree 
to which absolutism dominates it, of the ex- 
tent to which democracy has been eliminated. 

In democratic countries this monopoly aspect 
of propaganda is held in check by rivalries be- 
tween competing organizations. Political, eco- 
nomic, educational, and religious spokesmen 
are able to and actually do disseminate rival 
propagandas. This gives those at whom the 
rival propagandas are directed some freedom 
of choice among the alternatives offered them. 

The ability of individuals and organizations 
in democracies to enter their special viewpoints 
into the rivalry of propagandas is restricted 
chiefly by economic considerations. 1 2 In buying 
radio time and newspaper space, in the out- 
right purchase of radio stations and newspa- 
pers, in securing the expert services of profes- 
sional propagandists and public relations 
counselors, individuals and groups with large 

financial resources have an advantage over 
those with small resources. Producers of goods, 
for instance, have greater propaganda power 
than either consumers or labor.* 

The power of propaganda increases as its 
control becomes more centralized, as die trend 
to monopoly increases. In democratic countries 
this takes place when competing propagandists 
resolve their differences and agree upon one 
propaganda. This maneuver can be seen in 
amalgamations or agreements within politi- 
cal, economic, educational, and religious 

me to collaborate 
in terms of common interests, their propaganda 
programs tend to coincide and to increase in 
power. This process is stimulated by the cen- 
tralization of the control of the economic struc- 
ture of a country. A tendency toward a monop- 
oly of wealth is accompanied by a corresponding 
tendeno toward a monopoly of propaganda. 

Contrasted with the relative freedom for die 
dissemination of propaganda in democracies is 
the complete or nearly complete elimination 
of this freedom in totalitarian countries. Fascist 
German*, illustrates how propaganda is used 
both to bring a dictator into power and to aid 
him in maintaining that power. In Germany 
the propaganda which helped convince the 
people of the efficiency of die National Social- 

1 In the future the Institute hopes to publish letters on 
the aims and techniques of propaganda in other fascist 
countries and in the Soviet Union. The reader is referred 
particularly to the November and December issues of 
PROPAGANDA ANALYSIS for an elaboration of the 
method used in these analyses. 

2 See A. M. Lee, “Freedom of the Press: Services of a 

Caich Phrase,” in Studies in the Science of Society, G. P. 
Murdock, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
19 37 PP- 355-75. 

1 See A. M. Lee. The Daily Newspaper in America (New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), chapters on “Ad- 
vertising" esp. pp. 370-3) and “Labor” (esp. pp. 152-63). 



ist 4 solution for the country’s political and eco- 
nomic problems was reinforced by an army of 
storm troops that weakened opposition through 
terrorism. Such methods made difficult and 
dangerous the promulgation of competing 
propagandas. The power of the Nazi propa- 
ganda was increased further by the financial 
support of certain business men and by the 
political intrigues of Colonel Franz von Papen 
and other officials of the Weimar Republic. 

With the establishment of the National So- 
cialist regime its monopoly of propaganda was 
rapidly achieved. Suppression of opposition 
was thorough. Every source of public informa- 
tion and nearly every instrument capable of 
affecting public opinion came under its con- 
trol. Although some of the church groups were 
difficult to dominate, in general the National 
Socialist propaganda drive went forward with 
a thoroughness which exceeded that of World 
War propaganda. 5 

To understand how this monopoly of propa- 
ganda was effected, it is necessary to review the 
conditions under which German Fascism was 

In Germany, as elsewhere, Fascism is the out- 
come of economic and political instability. It 
is an undemocratic means for dealing with the 
mass unemployment of city workers, the eco- 
nomic distress of the middle classes, the im- 
poverishment of farmers, and the efforts of 
these groups for economic reforms. So long as 
democratic realities continue to exist, with free- 
dom of speech, press, and assembly, such efforts 
for reform can obtain a public hearing, and 
various programs to relieve and prevent distress 
stand a chance of enactment into law. Thus, 
representative democracy provides a means for 
reconciling conflicts through the expression of 
opinions and propagandas for different solu- 
tions, from which an enlightened public can 
make its choice. In Germany this means of mit- 
igating the abuses of the economic system was 
feared by influential politicians, industrialists, 

4 The official name of the political party which brought 
Fascism to Germany is the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche 
Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers 
Party). For brevity’s sake it is commonly referred to as 
the National Socialist party or by its initials, NSDAP. 
A short abbreviation much used in America is Nazi. As 
shown later, it is not actually a “socialist” or a “workers” 

B See H. D. Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the 
World War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927). 

3 In spite of, or partly because of, the terrorism which 
accompanied Nazi propaganda, and because of a slight 
economic upturn in the autumn of 1932, public opinion 

financiers, and great landowners. After the 
worldwide depression of the late 1920’s these 
individuals and groups felt that they could 
maintain their status only through the aboli- 
tion of representative democratic government. 
Their opportunity came in Adolf Hitler, master 

Had there been no depression and no unem- 
ployment in Germany, there doubtless would 
have been no Nazi party in control of Germany 
today. But the depression was more than an- 
other business crisis. It brought back vividly 
the hardships of the inflation period, the dis- 
tress at the end of the war. It caused millions 
of Germans to lose faith in the ability of the 
Weimar Republic to prevent such recurring 
disasters. This major crisis was utilized by Hit- 
ler to convince growing numbers of Germans, 
particularly in the middle classes, that the Re- 
public offered no future, no work, no promise, 
no hope for themselves or for their children. 
The social strain created by this condition made 
possible an audience highly susceptible to the 
propaganda of demagogues and cliques of dem- 

Sometimes a demagogue is sincere in his 
propaganda; usually he is confused. Typically, 
a demagogic clique is corrupt in whole or in 
part. The corrupt elements are usually success- 
ful in proportion to their astuteness and un- 
scrupulousness. They will agitate for a fee; they 
will exact for their services all that the traffic 
will bear; they will serve or pretend to serve 
many interests. The extent to which Hitler and 
his Nazi clique were sincere, astute, or unscru- 
pulous may never be fully known. At the criti- 
cal moment the NSDAP did receive the secret 
financial backing of a small group of Germans 
who wanted a government which would abolish 
freedom of speech, press, and assembly; which 
would eliminate labor unions; and which would 
deal effectively with expressed opposition. Such 
a government was established in Germany in 
1933 under the leadership of Adolf Hider. 8 

began to react against Hitler. This was shown by a sharp 
decline in votes polled by the National Socialist party 
in the Reichstag election of November 6, 1932. Because 
the democratic realities of the Weimar Republic still 
permitted considerable free play of public opinion, a 
few of Hitler’s most influential supporters decided at 
this juncture to urge his appointment as Chancellor. 
See Frederick L. Schuman, The Nazi Dictatorship (2nd 
ed., revised; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936), chapter 
on “Victory by Default,” for details of the victory of the 
National Socialists and of President von Hindenburg’s 
appointment of Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 
1933 - 



G ERMANY’S defeat in the World War and 
her humiliation in the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles had become less significant in the recon- 
struction period of the Weimar Republic; but 
at die end of the Twenties the world depression 
struck the German people another crushing 
blow and brought unemployment and impover- 
ishment to increasing millions. Anger and un- 
rest filled the land. In such a period it was 
natural in Germany, as anywhere, that a large 
section of the population should lend a favor- 
able ear to anyone who offered himself as a 
savior. The Socialists and Communists attrib- 
uted the depression and its consequences to the 
inherent weaknesses of a system of production 
for private profit. This they sought to replace 
by a system of public ownership. Their program 
made a rational appeal; as propaganda, how- 
ever, it was much less effective than the emo- 
tionally charged propaganda of the Nazis. 

The program and, more particularly, the 
actions of the National Socialist party have re- 
flected the frustrations and despairs of the Ger- 
man workers, farmers, and middle class. Hitler’s 
life actually epitomized and dramatized the 
experiences of the German people. Until his 
final overwhelming political victory, Hitler had 
known only failure. He wanted to be an artist 
and failed; an architect, and became a house 
painter; he went into the war with all possible 
enthusiasm and returned from it a physical 
wreck with no hope and no future in the coun- 
try which had lost. Some excuse, some outlet, 
had to be found. 

The middle class, one of the most politically 
important sections of the population, had been 
neglected. After the war this class in particular 
suffered from Germany’s failure, defeat, and 
humiliation. It suffered from the failure of the 
Weimar Republic to cope effectively with the 
economic crisis. It distrusted communism. It 
feared violent change, but it wanted such 
change as would give a sense of security. Then 
came Adolf Hitler, a leader, who promised the 
people all that they wanted. Most Germans felt 
that conditions were too bad even to question 
how all that he offered could be achieved. The 
few who did raise their voices in protest or 
doubt were silenced by argument, by force, or 

7 See John T. Flynn, “The Steel Master Behind Hitler’s 

Drive for Power,’* The New York World-Telegram, 
March 16, 1938 (NEA Service, Inc.). “He [Thyssen] is the 
man who made Hitler’s regime possible and mobilizes 
big business in Germany behind him now.’’ 

by honest conviction that this new scheme, this 
new hope, must be tried. Everything was prom- 
ised to every one: socialism to the laborer and 
to the more liberal Kleinbiirger ; partition of 
the great estates to the peasant; dissolution of 
trusts and economic security to the middle class 
citizen; salvation from communism to the up- 
per bourgeois; and to every one elimination of 
the Jews, rearmament of the Reich, and “na- 
tional liberation.” This was the appeal of the 
“National Socialist German Labor Party.” A 
mass following was the result. Power, however, 
could come only by persuading the industri- 
alists, the financiers, and the feudal military 
caste to support the Nazi movement. Hitler 
united them, organized them, and won their 
support with his promises that they should not 
fear his labor-winning social program. It was 
understood that they could retain control be- 
hind the scenes if Hitler were left free to man- 
age the political show. 

It is difficult to estimate the support or 
strength of the industrialists. As in most coun- 
tries many business leaders contributed to all 
the major parties. Despite its socialism, the 
growing following of the NSDAP made it a 
useful tool to crush Marxism, democracy, and 
the German labor movement. The list of in- 
dustrialists and aristocratic contributors ex- 
panded rapidly between 1925 and 1933, espe- 
cially after 1930. The most powerful figure 7 was 
the Ruhr magnate, Chairman Fritz Thyssen of 
the Vereinigte Stahlwerke A.G. The impor- 
tance of this financial backing, however, should 
not be overemphasized. So far as present records 
show, these men did not determine the policies 
of the party. Those had been decided before 
their support was elicited. “Socialism" was a 
Glittering Generality privately admitted by the 
party leaders. They had no plan and no inten- 
tion of changing the existing economic system. 
Capitalism was all they knew and all they 
wanted. But once in power, political control 
dominated economic control. “Capitalism,” as 
free enterprise, became a Glittering Generality. 
Virgil Jordan, 8 president of die National In- 
dustrial Conference Board, Inc., writes: 

. . . The National-Socialist regime has established 
a rigid system of planned economy. The aim of the 

8 Economic Development of Germany under National 
Socialism (New York: National Industrial Conference 
Board, Inc., 1937), pp. ix-xi. 



government is to conduct the operation of the eco- 
nomic system in the interest of general welfare, as 
the government conceives it. All private interests 
may be sacrified to the national interest. No differ- 
ence of opinion is allowed as to what constitutes the 
national interest. That question is decided by the 
leader of the National-Socialist Party, Chancellor 
Adolf Hitler, in consultation with party members 
and with the representatives of industry and trade. 
Economic planning was found to be impossible 
without putting labor and industry in a strait-jacket. 
The government determines the tasks that private 
industry must fulfil in order to promote national 
welfare and, through the exercise of dictatorial po- 
litical power, it tries to create the conditions under 
which those tasks can be accomplished. . . . 

By fixing wage rates, hours of work, prices, profits, 
and interest rates; by controlling imports and sub- 
sidizing exports; by regulating expansion of plant 
and equipment, the supply and distribution of raw 
materials, and new security issues; and by spending 
billions of marks on public works and rearmament 
—the National-Socialist regime has been successful 
in providing the available working force of the 
country with regular employment at a rate of wages 
sufficient to provide the basic necessities of life, but 
which does not permit an appreciable increase in 
the standard of living. . . . Once the government 
embarked on the program of rearmament and eco- 
nomic self-sufficiency, the freedom of enterprise had 
to be sacrificed.® 

To win their way to power the National So- 
cialists used all the techniques of propaganda, 
all the avenues for its dissemination which mod- 
ern science and invention have made possible, 
and all the old appeals and shibboleths. Pro- 
fessor Schuman 10 gives a vivid picture of one of 
the thousands of carefully planned great mass 
meetings: the waiting, the expectancy, the late 
hour when people's resistance is low, the deco- 
rations, the company of storm troopers drilling, 
the dramatic torchlight parade, the bands, the 
singing, finally the hush, a crash of drums and 
trumpets, the slow solemn entrance of a well 
disciplined procession to stirring martial music 
or perhaps Richard Wagner's “Entry of the 
God’s into Valhalla”; at the end a special body- 
guard, the uniformed party leaders, and then, 
“the centre of all eyes, Der Fiihrer— in his tan 
raincoat, hatless, smiling, and affably greeting 
those to right and left. A man of the people! 
Germany’s Savior!” “Heil! Heil!” and the third 
“HEIL!” swells into a great ovation. Speeches, 

spotlights, cheers, waving of arms. The audi- 
ence responds at the end with an overwhelming 
chorus, “Heil! Heil! Heil! Hitler!” The bands 
blare forth, and the multitude chants the 
“Horst Wessel Lied.” 

Vernon McKenzie, 11 director of the School of 
Journalism of the University of Washington, re- 
ports such a meeting in September, 1932, when 
he sat on the platform within ten feet of the 

A Canadian friend who has heard Hitler speak 
many times expresses succinctly the power of the 
Leader’s eloquence or demagogy, whatever you may 
call it. 

“I could listen to Hitler talk for an hour on one 
side of a subject,” he says, “and then if he turned 
around and for the next hour directly contradicted 
everything he had previously said, I would follow 
him and believe him. That is what I think of Hit- 
ler’s persuasive powers! If he can get me that way, 
how much more can he get the German audiences?” 

This evening Hitler . . . swayed that audience as 
I have never seen any audience swayed before or 
since. He did not mention Hindenburg by name, 
but one of his perorations went something like this: 

“Certain parties are contending for the right to 
guide the destinies of the German people. Certain 
leaders . . . one of them is eighty-six; the other is 
forty-three. Which do you think is likely to survive 
to guide the destinies of our race?” 

. . . He could play with that audience just as he 
wished. Looking down at the sea of faces from the 
platform, the 30,000 in the auditorium seemed to 
be subjects of mass hypnotism. 

The evidence of Mr. McKenzie’s Canadian 
friend is borne out by comments of American 
newspaper correspondents who point out that 
Hitler’s addresses are often unintelligible. Large 
numbers of his listeners apparently listen with 
their emotions. When their tension becomes 
high, they intercept the speech by emotional 
outbursts at seemingly inappropriate times. 
Here we see the force of language with or with- 
out meaning as a molder of public opinion. 
Only intelligent citizens skilled in analysis of 
propaganda and immunized against the wiles 
of the orator were unaffected by Hitler. Among 
such doubtless were editors, writers, teachers, 
clergymen, and others who later were to be 
killed, imprisoned, or forced to acquiesce in 
silence to a regime they disapproved. 

Hitler, the master propagandist, knew that 

9 See also the articles by Otto D. Tolischus, Berlin cor- 
respondent of The New York Times 9 for September 2-7, 
1937 * 

10 Op. cit., pp. 91 ff. 

u Through Turbulent Years (New York: Robert M. Mc- 
Bride and Company, 1938), pp. 37-8. 


4 1 

propaganda, to be effective, must be keyed to 
the desires, hopes, hatreds, loves, fears, and 
prejudices of the people; he knew that most 
human beings crave a scapegoat to take the 
blame of disaster and to bolster their own pride. 
The Jews were made the scapegoat. He blamed 
them not only for the existing unemployment 
and impoverishment but also for the loss of the 
war and the Treaty of Versailles. But the anti- 
Jewish propaganda had even greater value to 
Nazism than the mere creation of a scapegoat. 
Through the Jews Hitler was able to strike at 
anyone, Jew or non-Jew, opposed to Nazism, 
and to discredit any plan which aimed at the 
peaceful rehabilitation of Germany. Hitler’s ob- 
jective was to create in the minds of Germans 
an ugly image of “Jew.” The word “Jew” was 
deliberately made synonymous with everything 
the Germans resented and hated or could be led 
to resent and hate. Once that was done, Nazi 
agitators revived or manufactured for circula- 
tion notorious forgeries, which branded all 
those persons as Jews who did or said anything 
not in accord with Nazi ideas. To attack the 
Dawes Plan, for example, it became necessary 
to label Dawes as a Jew and so, according to Der 
Sturmer , Dawes was portrayed to its readers as 
a full-blooded Jew, originally named Davidson. 
The banking house of J. P. Morgan, which 
acted as a house of issue for a German govern- 
ment loan opposed by Hitler, was promptly 
branded a Jewish banking house and the Mor- 
gan name given as an abridgment of the more 
Jewish-sounding Morganstern. Similarly the en- 
tire French nation, whom the Nazis consider to 
be Germany’s natural enemy, was described as 
a nation of Jews. 

The Germans, Hitler said, were the world’s 
greatest race, supreme in the arts of peace and 
unconquerable in war unless betrayed by the 
Jews. Thus, he was able to give to the National 
Socialist program the driving power of strong 
nationalism, coupled with the emotional ap- 
peal of racial superiority, intensified by hatred 
of the despised Jews. At the same time he in- 
veighed against the great bankers, industrial- 
ists, and landowners as vigorously as did the 
Communists and Socialists. He proclaimed him- 
self the savior of the farmers, the small business 
men, and the workers. As early as 1920 Hitler’s 
newly created National Socialist party made 
promises identical with those of the Social- 
ists and Communists. The NSDAP platform 
adopted in Munich, February 24, 1920, in- 

cluded these demands: abolition of unearned 
incomes, nationalization of all trusts, abolition 
of interest on land loans, the enactment of a 
law for confiscation without compensation of 
land for public purposes. In May, 1926, the 
party decided that this program was never to 
be changed. Two years later, April, 1928, Adolf 
Hitler signed a statement which in effect held 
invalid the phrase “confiscation without com- 
pensation.” Since the National Socialists hold 
to the view of private property, he claimed, it 
was “self-evident” that this phrase referred 
“only to the creation of legal means whereby 
land which was acquired in illegal ways or 
which is not being administered to the best in- 
terests of the nation’s welfare might be expro- 
priated if necessary. This is directed primarily 
against Jewish land-speculation companies.” 13 
The official name of the party is a perfect ex- 
ample of the Glittering Generalities device— 
N ationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei 
(National Socialist German Workers Party) . 
In Germany the great pre-Nazi program of pub- 
lic housing and public works and the higher 
living standards achieved through labor unions 
had given the word “socialist” favorable con- 
notations. Hitler took full advantage of these 
connotations, though later his actual program 
drove socialists into concentration camps and 
abolished labor unions. 

But spellbinding, emotional meetings were 
not the only Nazi techniques of propaganda 
which helped bring the party to power. With 
its mysterious swastika, its parades, its officers, 
its “Third Reich,” its esoteric “wisdom,” its 
solidarity achieved by familiar symbols and uni- 
forms, the party was and is actually a secret 
society. It is elaborately organized with a 
women’s auxiliary, children’s groups, youth di- 
visions— a place for every one. Subtle sugges- 
tions run the gamut of emotions: prestige, love, 
fear, security, pride, hate. Hitler himself is said 
to have invented the Hakenkreuz flag and much 
of the elaborate military insignia of the brown- 
uniformed Sturm- Abteilung, or storm troops or- 
ganized on strictly military lines to combat 
other parties, and of the black-uniformed 
Schutzstaffel , originally the personal bodyguard 
of Hitler, now a small armv of full-time, well 
paid mercenaries. 

Promises, circuses, societies, banners, slogans, 
hate, fear, hope, pride — all swept the unsatis- 

12 Quoted by Henri Lichtenberger, The Third Reich 
(New York: The Greystone Press, 1937), p. 302. 



fied, discouraged Germans into the crowd on 
the band wagon behind the swastika. Since the 
advent of the National Socialists the power of 
the agencies of propaganda has been intensified 
and coordinated so that all avenues of com- 
munication — press, school, radio, motion pic- 
ture, and even the church — must carry but one 
propaganda to the public mind, must express 
one will, one voice, one opinion. Hence the Hit- 
ler regime has, in common with other fascist 
countries, established a system wherein author- 
ity flows from the top down; and from the 
people comes blind, instant, unquestioning 
obedience. In the pages that follow, the propa- 
ganda which aided the National Socialists in 
winning support, which helps them keep the 
support of a majority of the people today, is 
analyzed under the seven common propaganda 
devices suggested in the November letter of the 
Institute for Propaganda Analysis. 

Name Calling 

“Name Calling” is a device to make us form a 
judgment without examining the evidence on which 
it should be based. Here the propagandist appeals 
to our hate and fear. 

In as much as the first task of the National 
Socialists was to destroy simultaneously all trade 
unions as well as all liberal democratic institu- 
tions, it was necessary to make the people be- 
lieve that these were devilish inventions, clev- 
erly designed by malicious persons to ruin the 
German people. This they sought to accomplish 
by asserting with endless repetition that these 
institutions were similar in structure and mood 
to those of communism. They then painted 
communism in terms so lurid as to horrify even 
the skeptical. With people convinced that com- 
munism (often used by the Nazis as synonymous 
with the Weimar Republic) had been forced 
on them by a "degenerate” and "malicious” 
cabal of "alien enemies” to create their misery, 
they could then rally all good Germans around 
the Fiihrer, who promised to protect his people 
by waging relentless war on these "enemies of 
Germany.” This picture was widely accepted 
and was supported by a complete mythology in 
which the Jews, communism, and liberalism or 
democracy were held to be the major evil influ- 
ences from which the National Socialists saved 

Prominent in this campaign is Julius Strei- 

cher’s newspaper Der Sturmer , which, in addi- 
tion to its regular anti-Semitism, has recently 

published A Story Book for Young and Old 
Alike, in which Jews are pilloried and “Aryan” 
Germans warned against them. The seventeen 
"folk tales” are illustrated by grotesque cari- 
catures of alleged Semitic types with the title 
"A Poisonous Mushroom.” 13 Koppel S. Pinson, 14 
editor of the American edition of Professor 
Lichtenberger’s The Third Reich, quotes from 
the Berliner Tageblatt’s account of a speech by 
Dr. Goebbels, Minister of People’s Enlighten- 
ment and Propaganda, on Templehof Field in 
Berlin, June 30, 1935: 

“Does one believe diat we have buttons instead 
of eyes not to see how certain counter movements 
in the capital city are once again attempting to 
spread out? (Applause) And how the bourgeois in- 
tellectuals once again are ready to give them bro- 
therly aid with that stupid and inane phrase that 
the Jew is also a human being. True he is, but what 
kind of a human being! A flea is also an animal, 
yet not a very pleasing animal. We do not want the 
Jew any morel He has no place any longer in the 
German community!” 

"Liberals” are classified as weak, insipid, 
vacillating, temporizing, and unprincipled. To 
be a "liberal” or to believe in the "stupid doc- 
trine of equality” fostered by "Jewish-invented 
democracy” is to be a lily-livered "red.” "Jew- 
ish democracy” is opposed to the "true de- 
mocracy,” which Hitler claims to have estab- 

Nazi propagandists supercharge words with 
feeling and emotion in order to give them 
greater force in Name Calling. The same super- 
charging is applied to the "virtue words” which 
they employ in the Glittering Generalities de- 
vice. Many of these words derive their virtue 
from the immense reservoir of honesty, decency, 
good workmanship, good will, fine imagery, and 
rich emotionalism of the German people. 
Others are given significant new meanings. 

Glittering Generalities 

“Glittering Generalities” is a device by which the 
propagandist identifies his program with virtue by 
use of “virtue words.” Here he appeals to our emo- 
tions of love, generosity, and brotherhood. 

Much that is to the interest of those who con- 
trol the regime is praised in terms of the "com- 
munity good” and "comradeliness.” To the 
same end there is considerable talk about sub- 

™New York Herald Tribune, April 4, 1938. 

14 Lichtenberger, op. cit., p. 153. 


*4 * 



jecting all “narrow” and “selfish” interests to 
the “welfare of the community.” Such words 
as “labor” and “sacrifice” are given additional 
“virtue” by ceremonials and dramatic awards. 15 
As was previously indicated, the virtue that the 
word “socialist” had come to connote in Ger- 
many was the reason for its inclusion in the offi- 
cial name of the National Socialist party. Many 
Germans who believed in socialism were thus 
led to vote for a party whose leadership was 
committed to destroy socialism. 

The most sweeping generality is that con- 
veyed by the word Volk (folk or people). The 
Volk , after purging itself of Jewish blood, is to 
return to the true Germanic tradition of the 
Middle Ages. To lend authority to this theory 
a “biological mythology” has had to be in- 
vented, and is now proclaimed by professors 
appointed to university chairs for that purpose. 
Thus, we see the Card Stacking and Testimo- 
nial devices used to strengthen an application 
of the Glittering Generalities device. The re- 
gime utilizes the word “science” to sanction 
practices, policies, beliefs, and races which it 
wants approved. By “science” it obtains ap- 
proval for the destruction of all opposition and 
of all “Marxist liberal culture.” 

Other generalities are effective in appealing 
to special groups. The farmers have been heart- 
ened to endure the poor return from their toil 
by a whole magnificat, written on the theme of 
Blut und Boden (blood and soil). They are told 
that they are of the “glorious peasant state,” 
and each householder is given the honored title 
of Bauer. (The translation of this word, “peas- 
ant” or “farmer,” does not convey the same 
connotation which the original does to Na- 
tional Socialist Germany where the meaning is 
more that of a “creative builder.”) The title is 
secured to the Bauer if he can prove freedom 
from Jewish blood after January 1, 1800. 
“ Bauer honor” ties him to the land and pre- 
vents him from changing his occupation or 
residence. By way of compensation he has the 
“honor” of having his name placed on an “Es- 
tate Roll,” which entitles him to use special 
insignia — something like a coat of arms. 

The flattery, the insignia, and the verbal con- 

solations offered to workers on the land have 
their parallels in those offered to industrial la- 
borers. Nazi propagandists praise the “dignity 
of labor” and organize festivals in its honor. 
Labor, they assert, is filled with a new spirit; 
and to guard this spirit is the task, or mission, 
of Die Treuhdnder der Arbeit (the trustees of 
labor). These “trustees” are government offi- 
cials in the organizations controlled by the Na- 
tional Socialist party. It is their duty to see that 
labor disputes do not arise, or, having arisen, 
are settled as totalitarian expediency may de- 

Particularly important in any totalitarian 
state is the Gleichschaltung or coordination of 
all the activities of the people. The German 
Labor Front, administered from the Central 
Office in Berlin by Dr. Robert Ley, staff leader 
of the political organization of the party, has 
fourteen sections. These, according to the Na- 
tional Industrial Conference Board, 16 “deal with 
practically every aspect of economic and social 
life of German labor.” The Department of 
Kraft durch Freude or “Strength through Joy” 17 
is designed to employ all of the laborer’s leisure 
activities and to see that in these his “spirit” is 
coordinated with the “common” good. This 
makes it possible to check the way he spends his 
leisure hours and to prevent his developing and 
expressing opposition to the regime. 

As pointed out above, by using such Glitter- 
ing Generalities as “national honor” and “pub- 
lic interest” the National Socialists sought to 
justify the Gleichschaltung of industry de- 
scribed thus by the National Industrial Con- 
ference Board: 15 

. . . The state can dismiss the owner of an enter- 
prise from the position of leadership, if his behavior 
offends against social honor. For the same reason, it 
can deprive an employee of the position which he 
occupies. The state can prohibit investment of capi- 
tal in certain industries if their growth is not de- 
sirable and if capital is more urgently needed in 
some other branch of the national economv. The 
state can determine the amount of profits that can 
be paid out and control the employment of the 
amount retained as surplus. The state determines 
the amount of raw materials placed at the disposal 
of the various industries and individual enterprises. 

15 This is one of the many examples of how two or more 
of the common propaganda devices can be used in com- 
bination. Here the Glittering Generalities device is 
combined with the Band Wagon and Transfer devices. 
10 Op. cit., p. 20. 

17 See Robert A. Brady, The Spirit and Structure of Ger- 

man Fascism (New York: The Viking Press, 1937), pp. 
149 - 157 - 

18 Op. cit., p. 32. See also Calvin B. Hoover, Dictators and 
Democracies (New York: The Macmillan Company, 
1937), Essay on “Dictatorship and Property.” 



In the final analysis, the state fixes prices, wages, 
rates of interest, and the volume and distribution of 

Glittering Generalities are given additional 
power through the deliberate exploitation and 
perversion of humane feelings and impulses. 
This technique, much used by the warring na- 
tions in the World War, has made it possible 
for German Fascists to make the German peo- 
ple serve ends which, in the absence of force or 
fraud, would not have been respected or toler- 
ated. Examples of such perversion utilize the 
Transfer device. 


“Transfer” is a device by which the propagandist 
carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of 
something we respect and revere to something he 
would have us accept. 

Something approaching deification of Chan- 
cellor Hitler is an outstanding example of this 
device. Nazi propagandists seek to establish him 
as a quasi-divinity and to transfer to him the 
religious feelings of the German people; then 
to transfer from him the “divine" sanction of 
the policies, practices, beliefs, and hatreds 
which he espouses. Some party spokesmen and 
supporters refer to Hitler in terms like those 
applied to Christ. However, the pressure ex- 
erted to force the acceptance of the Fiihrer as 
a modern savior has been resisted by those 
church leaders who have recognized in the Nazi 
movement a conflict with Christianity, a con- 
flict admitted by the more outspoken National 
Socialists. Despite this opposition Nazi leaders 
have had great success in capturing religious 
feeling and in establishing Hitler as a divinity 
embodying the traditions of the old German 
folklore. The Evangelical Church Letter 1 ® sub- 
mitted to Chancellor Hitler in June, 1936, 
makes these observations: 

In this connection we must make known to the 
Fiihrer and Chancellor our uneasiness over the fact 
that he is often revered in form that is due to God 
alone. It is only a few years ago that the Fiihrer 
himself disapproved of his picture being placed on 
Evangelical altars. His judgment is taken to be the 
standard unrestrainedly today not only in political 
decisions, but also in regard to morality and justice 
in our people, and he himself is vested with the 
dignity of the national priest, and even of the media- 
tor between God and the people. 

(N.B.: Dr. Goebbels on April 19, 1936: “When 
the Fiihrer addressed his last appeal to the people 
on March 28, it was as if a profound agitation went 

through the whole nation; one felt that Germany 
was transformed into one single Flouse of God, in 
which its intercessor stood before the throne of the 
Almighty to bear witness. ... It seemed to us that 
this cry to heaven of a people for freedom and peace 
could not die away unheard. That was religion in 
its profoundest and most mystical sense. A nation 
then acknowledged God through its spokesman, and 
laid its destiny and its life with full confidence in 
His hand.” See also Goring’s speeches.) 

Pope Pius XI 20 in his encyclical on Germany, 
March, 14, 1937, stressed the same point when 
he wrote: 

Beware, Venerable Brethren, of the growing abuse 
in speech and writing, of using the thrice holy name 
of God as a meaningless label for a more or less 
capricious form of human search and longing. 

When members of the Roman Catholic 
Church and of the Protestant churches are not 
sufficiently influenced by the attempt to trans- 
fer their allegiance from the church beliefs 
which they have held to the beliefs “coordi- 
nated" with those of the state, more direct 
means of persuasion are used. Of these the 
Pope 21 wrote: 

. . . Among the spokesmen there are many who, 
by reason of their official position, seek to create 
the impression that leaving the Church, and the 
disloyalty to Christ the King which it entails, is a 
particularly convincing and meritorious form of 
profession of loyalty to the present State. With 
cloaked and with manifest methods of coercion, by 
intimidation, by holding out the prospect of eco- 
nomic, professional, civic and other advantages, the 
loyalty of Catholics and especially of certain classes 
of Catholic officials to their faith is put under a 
pressure that is as unlawful as it is unworthy of 
human beings. All Our fatherly sympathy and deep- 
est condolence We offer to those who pay so high 
a price for their fidelity to Christ and the Church. 

Baldur von Schirach, Nazi youth leader, 
wrote for the youth of Germany this prayer: 22 

“Adolf Hitler, we believe in Thee. Without Thee 
we would be alone. Through Thee we are a people. 
Thou hast given us the great experience of our 
youth, comradeship. Thou hast laid upon us the 
task, the duty, and the responsibility. Thou hast 
given us Thy Name [Hitler Jugend], the most be- 
loved Name that Germany has ever possessed. We 
speak it with reverence, we bear it with faith and 

19 International Conciliation, (Carnegie Endowment for 
International Peace, No. 324), November, 1936, p. 567. 

20 Reprinted in Lichtenberger, op. cit., p. 348. 

21 Ibid., p. 353. 

22 Brady, op. cit., pp. 196-7. 



loyalty. Thou canst depend upon us, Adolf Hitler, 
Leader and Standard-Bearer. The Youth is Thy 
Name. Thy Name is the Youth. Thou and the young 
millions can never be sundered.” 

Effective in transferring the sanction of the 
Almighty to his program are Hitler's public 
prayers. For example, in his address to the 
Reichstag, February 20, 1938, 23 in which the 
Nazi aggression against Austria, Czechoslo- 
vakia and otjier nations was forecast, Hitler 
used this device to give his acts divine approval 
in advance. He closed that address with these 

At this hour I should only like to pray the Lord 
God also in years to come to bestow his blessing 
upon our work, our acts, our insight and our resolu- 
tion to preserve us from overbearing as well as 
cowardly subservience, guiding us on the right path 
which His providence mapped out for the German 
people and that He always will give us the courage 
to do what is right and never waver or shrink before 
any violence or any danger. Long live Germany and 
the German nation. 

That the attempt to give divine sanction to 
Hitler and the Nazis has been successful is at- 
tested by a petition presented to the Chancellor 
by the chaplains of the armed forces in the 
autumn of 1937. 24 From it these excerpts are 

. . . The one half believes enthusiastically every- 
thing that is officially announced; the other half 
holds that it is all a lie. . . . The repeated promises 
that the rights of the church would be recognized 
and that full liberty would be given to it to regulate 
its own affairs have not been forgotten. . . . The 
State and the party combat today not only the 
churches, let alone merely political activities of the 
churches. They combat Christianity. This fact is 
repeatedly denied. It is true nevertheless. ... In the 
training camps of the party it is repeatedly ex- 
plained that National Socialism has three enemies: 
Judaism, Masonry and Christianity. Public accept- 
ance of Christianity is regarded, when a new posi- 
tion is to be filled, as a tie that unfits the candidate 

for service to the State or the party Of the 18,000 

Protestant pastors in Germany approximately 1,300 
have been in prison or under police arrest since 
1 934. That the pastor should be arrested has become 

a routine affair for Protestant parishes. . . . The type 
of men who have become famous by combating 
Christianity and who employ all their power to 
defile other men’s holy things will display when mat- 
ters become really serious their moral worthlessness. 
A keen observer can already see the signs. Bolshe- 
vism will easily find followers among some of those 
who today shout “Heil Hitler!” 

The prestige and authority of God are used 
to sanction the National Socialist party, its 
foreign policy of military expansion, 25 and its 
domestic policy of bending to its will labor, 
agriculture, business, and all ideals, including 
those of Christianity. 

Attempts are made to divert the attention of 
the industrial worker from the declining pur- 
chasing power of his labor and from the facts 
of his exploitation by transferring the feelings 
aroused in his breast by songs, processions, and 
rituals to a sense of pride in the “dignity of 
labor.” 20 The prestige, sanction, and authority 
of previous traditions of labor solidarity are 
transferred to the politically controlled labor 
organizations of the National Socialists, who 
have taken over the ritual and symbolism built 
up by the pre-Nazi labor unions and by the 
Social Democrats. May Day has been made the 
“Day of National Labor." All the “virtue” of 
the German Volk is transferred to labor. Work- 
ers are “honored" and “ennobled" with the 
“spiritual values" of the German Volk. This 
virtue is symbolized by the swastika, which here 
is the “symbol of German creative power." 27 

Love of the home and motherhood are simi- 
larly exploited to encourage women to accept 
the form of living which the National Socialist 
program requires of them. Children are made 
responsive to military ideals by transferring to 
these ideals the child’s love of adventure. The 
peasant’s love of the land is stimulated and 
transferred to an acceptance of his place in the 
present regime by such pronouncements as 
this: 28 

. . . The peasant, sticking to his soil, tilling all 
the time, knows what it means to own the ground. 
There is a higher value besides the one registered 
in the Hall of Records. Men of the big cities, the 

28 The New'York Herald Tribune , February 21, 1938. 

24 The New York Times , November 28, 1937. 

25 Note Hitler’s reference in his speech at Linz, Upper 
Austria ( The New York Times , March 13, 1938), to the 
taking of Austria as a “divine commission” and this quo- 
tation from his Vienna speech (ibid. April 10, 1938): “I 
believe it was God’s will to send this Austrian bov to 
the Reich and to permit him to return as a mature man 

to reunite the two great sections of the German people. 

“Within three days the Lord struck the former rulers 
of this country. Everything that has happened must 
have been pre-ordained bv Divine Will.” 

28 Albert Forster, in Kalender der deutschen Arbeit (Ber- 
lin: Yerlag der deutschen Arbeitsfront. 1954), p. 195. 

27 Rolf Dreves, in Kalender , op. cit p. 57. 

28 Kurt Biging. in Kalender , op. cit. f p. 138. 

4 6 


heaps of stones, of the fountain pen, of the ledger, 
of the sewing needle ... do not know any more 
what Mother Earth should mean to them. 

For children the Transfer device most fre- 
quently employed is the symbol of the Nazi 
hero — especially in his role of soldier. Manli- 
ness is identified with the glory of the party 
and is used as a means of encouraging in Ger- 
man boys an attitude of superiority toward 
women^and a belief in the doctrines of milita- 
rism and anti-Semitism. Words and symbols ap- 
pertaining to war have been endowed with a 
glorious sense to make war appear heroic and 
thrilling. Little children know and give the 
Hitler salute. Toy soldiers, tanks, machine guns, 
and simplified battle instructions abound every- 
where — symbols to transfer sanction to the 
later use of real tanks and machine guns. Dur- 
ing special “children’s evenings” boys and girls 
read books like Horst Wants to Be a Soldier, A 
Child Goes to War, The Battle of Tannenherg, 
and Two Lads in the Navy . 39 Problems in some 
arithmetic books deal with such questions as 
the quantity of gas bombs that would be neces- 
sary, if dropped from an altitude of ten thou- 
sand feet, to destroy a town of five thousand 


The “Testimonial” is a device to make us accept 
anything from a patent medicine or a cigarette to 
a program of national policy. 

From the fact that “the Fiihrer knows the 
goal and knows the direction,” it follows that 
his is the supreme testimonial. No authority 
and no judgment which does not follow from 
or accord with his can be right. No specialist 
knows better than he, no recommendation can 
be better than his. He can denv even the au- 
thority of science. Only the conclusions of “Ger- 
man science” as approved bv the Fiihrer may 
be accepted. When the conclusions of science 
do not accord with his wishes, as in genetics, a 
new science has to be invented (Card. Stacking); 
its prestige then has to be established by his 
testimonial . 80 So also with the arts. Only that 
art which is approved by the Fiihrer and his 
subordinates as German art mav be accepted 
by the German people . 81 So also does he decree 

how men and women shall live their lives. The 
kind of life which has the Fiihrer’s approval is 
that which is surrendered to the state. In this 
Hitler is the arbiter; his aproval is the supreme 

By the same leadership principle the at- 
tempted deification of Hitler is used to justify 
all actions at the top of the National Socialist 
pyramid. Delegation of power clown through 
the party hierarchy is made to justify the ac- 
tions of every “leader.” There are no elections 
in the democratic sense of the word and no 
free discussions. “Leaders” hold office indefi- 
nitely and at the discretion of their immediate 

Plain Folks 

“Plain Folks” is a device used by politicians, labor 
leaders, business men, and even by ministers and 
educators to win our confidence by appearing to be 
people like ourselves — “just plain folks among the 

At the same time that the Fiihrer is canon- 
ized, an attempt is made to transform him into 
a “man of the people.” In this, the propagan- 
dists are greatly assisted by his habits; for he 
affects ordinary clothes, wears no medals other 
than his simple Iron Cross, eats plain food and 
that sparingly, and leads a quiet, secluded life. 
He is pictured as a man of the people meeting 
plain folks in their ordinary walks of life, enjoy- 
ing with them their simple work and pleasures. 
But as previously indicated, Hitler wields an al- 
most hypnotic power over an audience as he 
rushes excitedly through a speech. The simplest 
peasant and the most untutored servant girl feel 
that he is talking directly to them. As he speaks, 
they seem to relive with him his terrible war 
experiences and his poverty-stricken post-war 
days. Just as one of the most powerful appeals 
of the figure of Christ for the poor of all ages 
is his lowly origin and his expressions of sym- 
pathy for humble people, so the National So- 
cialists attempt to capitalize on Hitler’s early 
career. Jesus, a carpenter, is the Messiah of the 
Christian world; Hitler, a house painter, is the 
savior of Germany. However, to judge by what 
Hitler has written in his book, Mein Kampf, 
he appears to have little sympathy but much 

29 cf. Ralph Thurston, “Under the Nazi Christmas Tree,” 
The New Republic, December 25, 1935, pp. 193-4. See 
also Schuman, op. cit., pp. 370-374. 

30 See Brady, op. cit., “The New Nazi Sciences,” pp. 46-52. 
81 See Olin Downes in The New York Times, April 3, 

1938. “ ... It remains a fact that an absolute dictatorship 
of the sort now practiced in such extensive areas of the 
world overseas [Germany, Italy, and Russia] is nothing 
but destructive to creative thought in any field.” 



contempt for the broad masses. Miriam Beard 32 

... He [Hitler] will not be squeamish about his 
methods: “Whenever people fight for their existence 
all questions of humanity or esthetics fall away to 
nothing.” Mercy is a vain illusion, he informs us on 
page 267 of the original, cut from the translation, 
“in a world ... in which Force is forever mistress 
over the weak” and in which “Nature does not 
know” it. 

The real sting is taken from his [Hitler’s] remarks 
on labor. His intention to “free economic life from 
the influences of the mass” is omitted. 

In this case, as in that of the other propa- 
ganda devices discussed in this paper, the 
element of misrepresentation of fact is consider- 
able, although it is not always predominant. 
The device which plays the most important part 
in National Socialist propaganda is, therefore, 
"stacking the cards” for or against beliefs or 
facts which the National Socialists wish either 
to encourage or to suppress. 

Card Stacking 

“Card Stacking” is a device in which the propa- 
gandist employs all the arts of deception to win our 
support for himself, his group, nation, race, policy, 
practice, belief, or ideal. He stacks the cards against 
the truth. He uses under-emphasis and over-empha- 
sis to dodge issues and evade facts. 

The misrepresentation of facts works in two 
ways. On the one hand there is a rigorously en- 
forced censorship, backed by an elaborate spy 
system and the constant threat of concentration 
camps. By this means the regime can suppress 
facts, prevent discussion and expression of dis- 
content and opposition. This largely accounts 
for the fact that many visitors on returning from 
Germany report that they heard no expression 
of discontent. On the other hand the regime 
has freedom to give publicity to falsehoods. Hit- 
ler 33 approves such publicity in Mein Kampf 
(deleted from the English translation) when he 

. . . “Propaganda . . . does not have to seek objec- 
tively for the truth so far as it favors an opponent 
. . . but exclusively has to serve our interests.” It 
must adopt every device of slander that ingenuity 
can suggest: “whenever our propaganda permits for 
a single moment the shimmer of an appearance of 

right on the other side, it has laid a foundation for 
doubt in the right of our cause . . . especially among 
a people that so suffers from objectivity-mania as the 

The Reichstag fire 34 on February’ 27, 1933, 
one week before the last free election in the 
Weimar Republic, affords an example of effec- 
tive Card Stacking. The records of the trial fol- 
lowing the fire establish clearly that the firing 
was planned and executed with finesse, that 
Communists were immediately accused of the 
act, that preparations had been made for the 
arrest of Communists before the fire-calls had 
been sounded, and that the evidence submitted 
by the National Socialists against the accused 
Communists did not stand in court. But none 
of the significant facts behind the fire was sub- 
mitted, although foreign observers were con- 
vinced that both the National Socialists and the 
court knew what they were. The falsity of the 
charge that the Communists burned the Reich- 
stag buildings was never told the German 

Similar Card Stacking techniques were util- 
ized at the Olympic Games in Berlin and at the 
fifth centenary anniversary of Heidelberg Uni- 
versity. In connection with the latter the cele- 
brations were taken out of the hands of the 
regular university authorities. The foreign 
scholars who attended witnessed a series of Na- 
tional Socialist political speeches, storm troop 
parades, and demonstrations intended to show 
the German people that the scientific and edu- 
cational world approved of the Nazi s vs tern. 
Nothing was said of the fact that the leading 
universities of the world, including three of the 
oldest — Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge — de- 
clined to attend. Nor was any publicity given 
to the letters sent by these universities, in which 
they declined the invitations and deplored the 
loss of academic freedom in the country’ which 
gave Lehrfreiheit to the world. 

The spirit of the Reichstag trial and the 
Heidelberg celebration is reflected in the an- 
nouncements of foreign policy from Wilhelm- 
strasse. Treaties and pronouncements are often 
regarded as instruments useful to placate, ap- 
pease, or even deceive other governments. After 
categorical denials of German interference in 

32 “Hitler Unexpurgated: Deletions from ‘Mein 
Kampf,’ ” in Nazism: An Assault on Civilization , Pierre 
van Paassen, editor (New York: Harrison Smith and 
Robert Haas, 1934), pp. 268, 272. 

33 Quoted by Beard, op. cit.. p. 269. 

u See Schuman. op. cit.. “The Sign from Heaven,” pp. 


4 8 


Spain, official recognition was given Franco, 
and Hitler made the statement that German 
troops were in Spain not only to “protect” her 
from “communism” but also to keep open for 
Germany access to ores and other raw materials. 

In line with this policy is the destruction of 
books and papers which contain what the Jap- 
anese call “dangerous thoughts.” Public and 
private libraries, book stores, offices, and refer- 
ence files are searched for “red,” “communist,” 
“Jewish” literature — literature which includes 
the works of Helen Keller, Emile Zola, Marcel 
Proust, H. G. Wells, Thomas and Heinrich 
Mann, Arnold Zweig, Albert Einstein, Jacob 
Wassermann, along with Karl Marx, Friedrich 
Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Such books feed 
great fires in public squares throughout the 
country. Quotations from some of these works 
are taken out of their context and presented to 
the public as examples of how these authors 
have been “poisoning the community” with 
“filth” and “lies.” 

Even long accepted classics are not immune. 
In a letter 35 to the Neue Tagebuch (Prague, 
Czechoslovakia, April 24, 1937) Dr. Emil Lud- 
wig recounted his abortive attempt to purchase 
a copy of the only complete edition of Goethe’s 
Conversations edited by Baron von Bieder- 
mann. The reply which his Zurich bookstore 
received from Leipzig read, “Biedermann Ge- 
sprache mit Goethe destroyed.” When he 
learned that the Third Reich was preparing a 
new and purged “Selection” of this famous Ger- 
man classic, Dr. Ludwig wrote: “Here are a few 
examples why Goethe’s Conversations need to 
be purged for use in present-day Germany. 

“They are Prussians, my friend, so beware! Prus- 
sians always claim to know everything better than 
anyone else.”— To Griiner, 1822. 

“Patriotism depraves history. Jews, Greeks, and 
Romans depraved their own history and the history 
of other peoples by not telling it impartially. The 
Germans do it, too, with their own history and that 
of other nations.”— To Riemer, 1817. 

“He was infuriated by Wurm’s efforts to make 
the Jews an object of ridicule on the stage, and he 
said, ‘It is despicable to pillory a nation which pos- 
sesses such remarkable talents in art and science. 
As long as I am in charge of the theatre, this type 

of play will never be produced.’ ” — Biedermann 
Edition, Vol. II, p. 385. 

Miriam Beard 30 has shown how the English 
edition of Mein Kampf was purged of remarks 
which might offend foreigners. Eliminated are 
the more vitriolic attacks on France and demo- 
cratic institutions, many of the eulogies of the 
Germans as a “master race,” the more scurrilous 
references to Jews and to the “stupid masses,” 
and the more blatant advocacy of militarism, 
force, violence, and war. Hitler says, for ex- 
ample, in words deleted from the translation, 87 
that he adopted Feder’s anti-usury cry for its 
drawing power, with no intention of keeping 
his promise, since a great politician “has to 
bother himself less with means than with the 

An analysis of parallel news reports in Ger- 
man and foreign papers offers examples of the 
effective use of Card Stacking by a controlled 
press. For instance, during the trial of Pastor 
Niemoeller the only news carried by the Ger- 
man papers was a brief attack upon him as 
one who advocated a policy of love to Jews and 
traitors and preached from the Old Testament. 
His release by the court was announced but his 
rearrest by the secret police was not. Convic- 
tions of Roman Catholics for “immoral prac- 
tices” were published: acquittals were “played 
down.” Although the Minister for Church Af- 
fairs, Herr Hans Kerri, announced that more 
than 8,000 Catholic religious leaders were or 
had been under arrest, he did not publish the 
fact that only about forty-nine had been con- 
victed of immoral actions. Similarly, many 
crimes of individual Jews are publicized, but 
no publicity is given to ways in which German 
Jews have served their country. No intima- 
tion, for example, is made of the fact that 12,- 
000 Jews died for Germany in the World War; 
or that, despite official discouragement, ap- 
proximately the same proportion of Jews as of 
Gentiles served in the German army and navy. 88 

In addition to influencing the German peo- 
ple in the direction desired by the dictator, the 
falsehoods inherent in Card Stacking arouse 
hatreds which have the effect of rallying the 
people against the supposed enemy or peril. 

“Translated by Marvin Lowenthal in a letter to The 
New York Times , July 12, 1937. 

80 Op. cit., pp. 257-279. 

87 Ibid., p. 268. 

88 For a summary of statistics relating to the number and 
positions of Jews in Germany, see Schuman, op. cit.. 

pp. 316-8; and Mildred Wertheimer, “The Jews in the 
Third Reich,” Foreign Policy Association Reports. IX 
(!933), pp. 174-184. According to German census figures 
in 1925, professing Judaists constituted 0.9 per cent of 
the total population of 62,410,619. 



The “Band Wagon” is a device to make us follow 
the crowd, to accept the propagandist’s program en 
masse. Here his theme is: “Everybody’s doing it.” 
His techniques range from those of medicine show 
to dramatic spectacle. 

One of the great unifying principles adopted 
by the National Socialists is that of hate. Among 
die passages deleted from the English version 
of Mein Kampf, Hitler has written : 30 

. . . “Hate is more lasting than dislike, and the 
thrusting power for the mightiest upheavals on this 
earth has at all times come less from scientific recog- 
nition than from a fanaticism diat fills the souls of 
the masses and in a forward-driving hysteria” 
( vorwartsjagenden Hysterie ). 

In accordance with this principle Jews, com- 
munists, liberals, and democrats, became ob- 
jects of hatred and scapegoats which could be 
made to suffer for the people's distress. Unity 
is further encouraged by patriotic demonstra- 
tions. Typical in these are gigantic crowds of 
people, massed ranks of uniformed troops, 
bands playing patriotic and martial airs, voices 
declaiming from a hundred mechanical mouths, 
ecstatic marchers carrying flickering torches, 
their resinous smoke blending into the dark- 
ness, flags and swastikas everywhere. This is the 
National Socialist equivalent of “bread and cir- 
cuses.” To bring all Germans upon the Na- 
tional Socialist band wagon, the party propa- 
gandists play continuously upon the common 
fears, hatreds, prejudices, aspirations and tradi- 
tions. All propaganda devices culminate in this 
one. Not to get on the German fascist band 
wagon is the gravest heresy, tantamount to trea- 
son. This largely accounts for reports of nearly 
too percent “Yes” votes in all Nazi plebiscites. 

To What End All This Propaganda? 

P ROPHESIES are hazardous. We do not 
know the future of German Fascism. When 
Hitler wrote his book, Mein Kampf, he stated 
as objectives so many goals which since have 
been attained that the book often is called the 
blueprint of German Fascism. Hitler has writ- 
ten: “A State which . . . devotedly fosters its best 
racial elements is bound one day to become 
Master of the Earth (Herr der Erde).’ ,i0 

89 Beard, op. cit., p. 267. 

40 Quoted by Beard, op. cit., p. 258. 

Preparation for war is today the major activ- 
ity of the National Socialists. Hitler’s program 
for expansion is as impressive as the Berlin-to- 
Bagdad objective of the former Kaiser. If ex- 
pansion can be obtained without fighting, as 
in the case of Austria, by mere threat of military 
attack with acquiescence, support or approval 
of politicians, statesmen, and groups in other 
states, there will be no war— simply the peace- 
ful yielding to German Fascist occupation or 
domination. Lands so occupied or dominated 
probably would experience almost immediately 
five major phenomena characteristic of Fascism 
in Germany itself: 

1 . The destruction of labor unions. 

2. The destruction of “free enterprise” to bring 
business under the absolute control of the Fiihrer. 

3. The destruction of “free enterprise” in agri- 

4. The destruction or silencing of members of the 
intellectual class— editors, professors, teachers, clergy- 
men and others who by reason of native gifts, train- 
ing, education, and experience are among the best 
equipped to analyze and appraise the policies and 
acts of the Fiihrer and the hierarchy of Nazi officials. 

5. A monopoly of propaganda, accompanied by 
coercion, to keep all the people subservient to the 
authoritarian will. 

Preceding such occupation or domination 
one may expect subversive or open propaganda 
to make the people receptive to Fascism. This 
will have the support of those groups and in- 
dividuals, including high public officials, who 
expect advantages from German Fascism. In 
this connection, however, a word of warning: 
We must guard against assuming that German 
Fascism or any other variety of Fascism arises 
from propaganda alone. German Fascism came 
into being not primarily because of Hitler’s 
masterful skill as a propagandist but because 
conditions of unemployment, impoverishment, 
despair, anger, and resentment were such in 
Germany that any person or group offering sal- 
vation in terms sufficiently appealing could 
have influenced profoundly the political and 
economic decisions of the German people. Hit- 
ler was sufficiently appealing. With the finan- 
cial support of certain individuals and the in- 
trigues and incompetencies of men like von 
Papen and Hindenburg, Fascism became a 

It was a combination of economic breakdown, 
governmental weakness, and propaganda which 
made pre-Nazi Germany ready for Fascism. A 



similar combination could bring Fascism else- 

Propaganda has no meaning and hence no 
effectiveness except in terms of life conditions 
of people— their needs, fears, hatreds, loves, as- 
pirations, prejudices, and traditions. These af- 
fect propaganda as much as propaganda affects 
people. 41 National Socialist propaganda was 
based on the hatreds, fears, aspirations, and 
traditions of the German people. That explains 
its success— that, together with the fact that 
most of the German people and doubtless many 
of the Nazi propagandists themselves were un- 
able to analyze, evaluate, and appraise the Nazi 
propaganda and its possible consequences. 
Whether Hitler or his fellow Nazis were sincere 
or insincere, racketeers or honest men, is not a 
matter of prime importance. What is of impor- 
tance is that they won to their cause honest, 
earnest men and women who in their turn be- 
came zealous and effective propagandists for 
National Socialism. These men and women 
knew well the despairs and aspirations of mil- 
lions of Germans. Their sincerity, strengthened 
by those aspirations, made them powerful 
propagandists for German Fascism. Such a one 
was Pastor Martin Niemoeller who, after his 
war service, came back to a Fatherland torn by 
class strife and proletarian revolt. With the 
same zeal that led him to fight for his country as 
a captain of a German submarine, Niemoeller 
joined the National Socialists in 1924 to fight 
for a better Germany. Into his work with and 
for the National Socialist Party he put his pa- 
triotism, sincerity, and fervor. There must have 
been thousands like Pastor Niemoeller, honest 
earnest men whom people knew, trusted, and 
followed. Some of them, like Niemoeller, came 
to see that National Socialism (German Fas- 
cism) actually was destructive of the Germany 
of their hopes and aspirations; therefore, they 
broke with the Nazis at the risk of liberty and 
life. Others, not yet so disillusioned, continue 
to accept and promulgate German Fascism with 
sincerity and fervor. These are the really effec- 
tive propagandists. Great and small, they are 
leaders of opinion in their communities. Be- 
cause they are honest and respected, their influ- 
ence is great. If, like Pastor Niemoeller, they 

come to see in German Fascism the destruction 
of the Germany of their aspirations, the more 
courageous of them may fight as zealously 
against Fascism as once they fought for it. The 
process of such disillusionment may be slow or 
negligible because the regime has a monopoly 
of propaganda. 

Meanwhile, German Fascist propaganda may 
be expected increasingly to penetrate other 
lands: in some countries, such as Czechoslo- 
vakia, Hungary, and Roumania, as prepara- 
tion for Anschluss; elsewhere as a means of ob- 
taining open or tacit approval of such German 
Fascist expansion. Card stacking must be used 
constantly by the National Socialists to prevent 
Germans and the rest of the world from know- 
ing significant facts about German Fascism. In 
this connection note the proposal by Dr. Otto 
Dietrich, 42 Reich Press Chief, for press non- 
aggression pacts, providing for governmental 
control of printed and spoken words in all na- 
tions negotiating such treaties with Germany. 
Dean Carl W. Ackerman, 43 of the Columbia Uni- 
versity Graduate School of Journalism, recently 
voiced the implications under Dr. Dietrich’s 

. . . every member of the Congress of the United 
States, of every state legislature, all mayors and mem- 
bers of city or town councils, all leaders of religious, 
educational, labor and business groups, all public 
speakers and writers, would have to submit any pro- 
posed public reference to Germany, or to German 
officials ... to an official censor in Washington before 
it could be spoken or printed. 

Once the German Fascists obtain power over 
another nation, we may expect that pressure 
will be exerted, as in the case of Austria, to 
bring the press and all channels of communica- 
tion under totalitarian control, and to silence 
all critics. In order to save their lives and posi- 
tions some editors, writers, clergymen, teachers, 
business men, farmers, and others who might 
be adversely critical will yield to pressure. 
By so doing they will become part of the totali- 
tarian propaganda system— will lend themselves 
to its purposes either by silence or by outspoken 
approval. Particularly strong will be the pres- 
sure to silence teachers and clergymen. Coura- 
geous educators will be removed 44 from their 

41 See William Graham Sumner, Folkways, chap. i. 

42 See The New York Times , March 8, 1938. 

43 Reported in The New York Herald Tribune, March 21, 


44 See The New York Times , March 28, 1938, for an ac- 
count of Edward Y. Kartshorne’s study of the effect of 

the Nazi dictatorship on German education, in which he 
shows that of the 1,684 professors who have been dis- 
missed by the National Socialists almost 900 were released 
for being Jewish, Catholic, or “politically unreliable” 
and more than 700 others were dismissed for no known 



5 1 

teaching posts and forthright clergymen and 
priests from their pulpits. For one Paster Nie- 
moeller, imprisoned for his opposition, there 
will be others like Bishop Muller ready to ac- 
cept position and prestige as a reward. For one 
Cardinal Faulhaber, who in Munich at great 
persona] risk refused to accept the German 
Fascist concept, there will be others like Cardi- 
nal Innitzer of Austria, who urged all Austrian 
Roman Catholics to accept the Nazi regime . 46 
Some church leaders and some churches may 
yield to the regime or compromise differences 
in formal agreements. We may then expect 
them to join the National Socialists in their 
crusade against Judaism, communism, liberal- 
ism, and democracy. If this happens, we may 
expect to see an increasing use of the Transfer 
Device whereby such church groups give their 
sanction and authority to justify the expanding 
program of the German Fascists and their allies. 


In our October letter we noted that propa- 
ganda is the expression of opinion or action by 
individuals or groups deliberately designed to 
influence opinions or actions of other individ- 
uals or groups with reference to predetermined 
ends. We stated further that the Institute would 
subject propagandas to scientific analysis and 
seek to indicate whether they conform or not to 
American principles of democracy. We do not 
advocate the suppression of fascist propaganda 
in the United States, for that would imply vio- 
lation of the Constitution of the United States. 
We do advocate analysis of these and other 
propagandas whether they originate abroad or 
in our own country. Today the most rapidly 
spreading propaganda is fascist, with Hitler, 
the master propagandist of our generation, 
more or less effectively copied in method and 
technique by numerous adherents of the fascist 
totalitarian philosophy. 

Suggested Readings 

The foregoing analysis of National Socialist 
propaganda can do little more than suggest the 
techniques used in bringing about and main- 
taining German Fascism. For those who wish 
detailed accounts to make clearer die day-to- 
day developments in the European situation, 
caused by the National Socialist program of 
expansion, the following books are suggested: 

45 Cf. The New York Times, March 29. 1938, and The 
New York Sun , March 28, 1938. 

Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf 
(Munich: Verlag Franz Eher Nachfolger, 1933), was 
begun when he was thirty-five while imprisoned in 
the fortress of Landsberg am Lech following the 
abortive Putsch of November, 1923. It contains his 
program and political theories. An English edition, 
considerably abridged, translated by E. T. S. Dug- 
dale, has been published under the title of My Battle 
(New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1937. Pp. 
viii + 297. §2.50). 

Robert A. Brady’s The Spirit and Structure of 
German Fascism (New York: The Viking Press, 

1 937* Pp x * x + 4 20 * $3-oo) gives a vivid picture of 
conditions in Germany under the National So- 

Frederick L. Schuman’s The Nazi Dictatorship 
(2nd ed., revised; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936. 
Pp. xiii 516. $3.50) presents a clear account of 
the early history and propaganda of the Nazis. 

Henri Lichtenberger's The Third Reich , trans- 
lated from the French and edited by Koppel S. 
Pinson (New York: The Greystone Press, 1937. Fp- 
x i -f- 392. $3.00) reviews objectively the functioning 
of National Socialism. The appendix, containing 
material not readily available, and the excellent bib- 
liography are particularly valuable. 

Stephen H. Roberts’ The House that Hitler Built 
(New York: Harper and Brothers, 1938. Pp. xii -f 
380. §3.00) is a dispassionate judgment of the Hitler 
regime. The author, an Australian, devotes much 
attention to the army. 

Vaso Trivanovitch's Economic Development of 
Germany under National Socialism (New York: Na- 
tional Industrial Conference Board, Inc., 1937. Pp. 
xvii + 141. $3.50) contains valuable material on 
such subjects as the organization and the economic 
position of labor and industry, foreign trade, and 
public finance. 

Five Years of Hitler (New York: American Coun- 
cil on Public Affairs, 1938. Pp. 46. 15c) sets forth in 
headline form an account of what has happened in 
National Socialist Germany. The editor is M. B. 
Schnapper; the contributors are Frederick L. Schu- 
man, Henry Smith Leiper, Robert A. Brady, Alice 
Hamilton, Charles A. Beard, and H. C. Engelbrecht. 

Calvin B. Hoover’s Dictators and Democracies 
(New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937. Pp. xi 
-|- 110. $1.50), while not devoted solely to National 
Socialism, is an interpretation of developments in 
Germany, Italy, and Soviet Russia as illustrations 
of totalitarian states. 

Mildred S. Wertheimer's Germany Under Hitler 
(New York: Foreign Policy Association and World 
Peace Foundation, 1935. Pp. 48. 25c) gives a brief, 
concise account of the rise of Hitler to power and 
of his first two years as Chancellor of the German 

The New York Times , New York Herald Trib- 
une, and Christian Science Monitor have carried 



particularly significant day-by-day accounts which 
reveal all of the common propaganda devices used 
by the German Fascists. These newspapers should 
be followed for contemporary evaluation of Nazi 

The American Observer , a weekly review of social 
thought and action (Civic Education Service, 744 
Jackson Place, Washington, D. C., $2.00 a year), is 

convenient for those who lack the time to follow the 
day-by-day accounts in the better daily newspapers. 

Vienna: March , k)-$8—A Footnote for Historians 
is “a verbatim record of the Austrian crisis, exactly 
as it came to CBS listeners.” Free single copies may 
be secured by addressing the Columbia Broadcasting 
System, 485 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y. 


1. Discuss Germany’s standing in the world of 
science before 1933. Is science merely knowledge or 
is it a method? Can it be applied in “non-scientific” 
fields (e.g., in politics as well as in physics and chem- 
istry)? Does anyone think scientifically today in 
politics? Do believers in democracy think more sci- 
entifically than believers in other systems? How can 
we determine the answer to this question? How does 
the scientific method succeed better than another 
in discovering the truth? Is it just more critical? 

2. How far is it possible for a modern leader of 
masses of people to remain adequately critical of 
his own conclusions? Does accumulating struggle, 
observation, tension, and conviction inevitably drive 
his mind into a rut (i.e., rigid dogmas reinforced by 
strong feelings)? Discuss this point at some length, 
for it is fundamental today. 

3. Observe carefully and talk with unemployed 
people. Go to the poorest sections of town, cheap 
cafeterias, “flop” houses, employment agencies. 
Then talk w r ith people on W.P.A., others engaged 
in poorly paid, uncertain work. Finally, talk with 
men and women in the skilled trades, trades people, 
merchants, middle class men and women. Study the 
effect of unemployment, uncertain income, eco- 
nomic insecurity on these different people. Are they 

46 Note for Group Leaders: This subject is the theme of a 
highly emotionalized world conflict. Avoid becoming 
involved in arguments pro or con. Make it clear at the 
outset, and repeatedly thereafter, that you are primarily 
a partisan of accuracy, if that be partisanship. Make it 
clear that you believe care in thinking is of more lasting 
importance to the human race than any single issue. 
Therefore, permit yourself to be checked and corrected 
at any time. Be willing to reconsider and, if need be, to 
revise your judgment. Thus, by example, set the fashion 
for the members .of the group. 

One of the far reaching effects of propaganda analysis 
is the development of a consciousness of one’s own mental 
processes. After working through the discussions sug- 
gested in this volume, the members of the group should 
be more aware than previously of their own assumptions 
of certain ideals, objectives, relationships, of what these 
are and why they hold them; of the facts which they 
know and the sources of their information; of the facts 
which they need to know but have not yet ascertained. 

This greater awareness, if it has been cultivated by the 
leader and the other members of the group in a positive 

bitter, resentful, apathetic, indifferent? How do 
their attitudes compare toward the kind of govern- 
ment we have? 

4. Discuss how a creed or political philosophy 
that is born in struggle differs from one born in a 
Persian garden. 

5. Assign the books in the bibliography to dif- 
ferent members in the group. Discuss thoroughly 
the background and basis of German Fascism. Are 
scientific training and mass literacy sufficient to pre- 
vent a people from uncritical acceptance of political 
panaceas? Discuss the effect of reliance upon “lead- 
ers” and authority. Generalizing from the situation 
in Germany and from your discussion of Questions 
1-4, what factors in the life of a nation do you be- 
lieve would make it fertile ground for fascism? 
What would prevent it from accepting fascism? 

6. Do most people become emotional when the 
subject of German Fascism is mentioned? Disregard 
on which side the partisanship lies, and make ob- 
servations to determine to what the emotionalism 
is due. To fear of some coming danger? Is German 
Fascism merely one extreme solution imposed on a 
continuing social and economic conflict among us? 

7. In view of prevalent propagandas, how real 
are our freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and 

manner, should not result in mere hesitation or luke- 
warmness on every vital issue. It should give dynamic 
incentive to intellectual activity in two directions. In 
one direction, this activity should engage in a thorough, 
critical house-cleaning to wipe out mental cobwebs, rusty 
ideas, and dusty theories and to build a fresh series of 
personally tested and thought-through values. In the 
other direction, this activity should engage in the labori- 
ous but rewarding hunt for honest facts. It should involve 
critical questioning regarding authorities and the 
authors of books and articles, of personal observations, 
assumptions, and theories. 

There is undoubted value in theoretical discussions of 
such abstract ideas as truth, justice, beauty. Eventually, 
however, such theories must be tested by action. We can 
strengthen our ability to act intelligently by getting 
into conflict situations and learning to conduct ourselves 
with something of the poise of such great men as Lincoln 
whose enemies knew that the bitterness and passions of 
his contemporaries would not interfere with the compas- 
sion and mercy of his decisions. 



worship? Can Germany’s loss of these freedoms be 
made up later in better times? Will it modify Ger- 
many’s whole future? May America some day be 
forced to choose between security and freedom? Does 

Lincoln’s great and lasting faith in the judgment of 
the people omit the possibility of propagandas as 
powerful as those we see in the United States today? 

Volume I JUNE, 1938 Number 9 

Propaganda on the Air 

I N little more than a dozen years radio has 
become a major channel of communication. 
It is an instrument of propaganda which can 
be more immediately effective than the press or 
the motion picture. Propagandas of the air 
travel with speed of light. Millions of listeners 
can hear and respond instantly. Responding to 
a Father Coughlin they can persuade Congress 
to kill our participation in the World Court 
or, with the help of the press, to defeat a govern- 
mental reorganization plan by picturing it as 
radical, dictatorial; responding to a Huey Long 
they can vote to make “every man a king”; re- 
sponding to a Franklin Roosevelt they can over- 
come a New Deal opposition of 80 per cent or 
more of the newspapers; responding to a Wil- 
liam J. Cameron they can marshal support for 
Henry Ford’s belief in “individualism.” There 
is maximum response when the propagandas 
are keyed to the hopes, aspirations, resentments, 
and hatreds of the people. 

In the voices of the air are to be found all 
the common devices of propaganda. How are 
these used and to what ends? We find the an- 
swer in part in the three frameworks in which 
radio broadcasting takes place: 

1. Democratic, with private ownership 
of radio broadcasting, as in the 
United States, with some governmen- 
tal control. 

2. Democratic, with public ownership of 
radio broadcasting, as in Great Bri- 
tain, with a large measure of govern- 
mental control. 

3. Totalitarian, as in Germany, with 
complete control by the government. 

Under private ownership, as in the United 
States, radio broadcasting is a business operated 
for private profit. The poliq* of the major net- 
works is to sell time for the advertising of goods 

and services, but not to sell time for the discus- 
sion of controversial public issues. They allot 
this time free as part of their service to the 
public. Any departure which has occurred is in 
direct violation of this established policy and 
immediately becomes a live issue within the 
broadcasting industry. Under private owner- 
ship there are two kinds of programs: first, the 
“sponsored program” which is paid for by an 
advertiser; second, the “sustaining program” 
which is provided by the broadcasting com- 
pany. The sponsored programs bring to us the 
many propagandas of commercial advertising 
and, occasionally, the economic or political 
views of the sponsors, as in the Ford Sunday 
Evening Hour. Many or most are sweetened 
and made palatable by music or other enter- 
tainment— the formula of the old time medicine 
show. The sustaining programs, such as the Uni- 
versity of Chicago Round Table or America’s 
Town Meeting of the Air, usually carry views 
and opinions on controversial subjects. 

Under public ownership, as in Great Britain, 
there is no commercial advertising over the 
radio. There is, however, some competition of 
political and economic propagandas. 

Under the totalitarian system there is a mo- 
nopoly of propaganda and with it complete 
control of radio as a channel of communication. 
By selection and emphasis, by suppression and 
distortion, the totalitarian regime uses radio to 
inculcate the political, social, and cultural at- 
titudes and beliefs it considers necessarv or de- 
sirable. It holds as unpatriotic or as treasonable 
refusal to listen to its more significant political 
broadcasts; it punishes those who are discovered 
listening to forbidden broadcasts which orig- 
inate in radio stations bevond its control. When 
Hitler occupied Austria one of the first moves 
of the German Fascist regime was to take over 
the Austrian radio. 



Freedom to discuss governmental domestic 
policies and issues is large in the United States. 
It is more restricted in Great Britain, and non- 
existant in Germany. Freedom to discuss for- 
eign policies is likewise non-existant in Ger- 
many, is considerably restricted in England, but 
is large in the United States . 1 Radio listeners in 
Germany, for example, have no opportunity to 
hear the propagandas “for” and “against” inter- 
vention in Spain and “for” and “against” the 
British-Italian agreement approving Italy’s seiz- 
ure of Ethiopia and giving tacit recognition to 
Franco. In the United States propagandas flow- 
ing from such controversial issues probably have 
had a wider hearing over the radio 2 than in any 
other democratic country. David Sarnoff , 3 * * * pres- 
ident of the Radio Corporation of America, 
speaking of broadcasting in totalitarian coun- 
tries, said: 

Broadcasting in those autocracies serves the inter- 
est, convenience and necessity, not of the public, but 
of totalitarian government. It is allowed to present 
only one side of public issues. ... It is no coincidence 
that where freedom of thought and of speech are 
denied on the air, they are equally denied on the 
platform, in the university, and in the church. It is 
no coincidence that where you find broadcasting en- 
slaved, you also find a slavish press. 

The American System 

American radio, with its greater freedom, 
provides many kinds of programs, disseminates 
many propagandas. However, to this American 
“freedom of the air” apply several restrictions. 

The first is physical. Because the number of 
available wave lengths for radio broadcasting 
is limited, the number of radio stations must 
be limited. To prevent interference and “jam- 
ming,” only those stations may broadcast which 
are licensed by the Federal Communications 

Commission. A license may be revoked if the 
Commission finds that the broadcasting com- 
pany is not serving “public interest, conveni- 
ence, and necessity.” In practice, licenses are 
granted for six month periods only. 

While the law which sets forth the powers of 
the Commission withholds from it power to 
“interfere with the right of free speech,” some 
see possibilities for censorship in the interpre- 
tation and application of the law, among them 
David Sarnoff/ who recently said: 

While direct Government censorship over radio 
programs is . . . forbidden by law, the terms of the 
Government licenses leave the door open for an 
indirect — and more insidious — censorship. Any 
attempt to impose the ordinary “blue pencil” censor- 
ship is little to be feared, because, being a conspic- 
uous violation of the right of free speech, it would 
arouse a storm of public protest. But what is not 
conspicuous — and is therefore dangerous — is the 
effect on the mind of the broadcaster, resulting from 
attitudes that may be taken by the government to- 
ward stations, on matters outside the regulation of 

Fear of disapproval can blue-pencil a dozen pro- 
grams for every one that an official censor might 
object to. While practically nobody advocates a 
pre-program blue-pencil in the hands of govern- 
ment, few realize that post-program discipline by the 
government can be a form of censorship that is all 
the more severe because it is undefined. 

A more important restriction than that thus 
far imposed by the Federal Government is in- 
herent in American radio as in any other busi- 
ness operated for profit. Some radio stations, 
like some newspapers, are not eager to dissemi- 
nate propagandas repugnant to influential ad- 
vertisers. This is explained by the fact that 
broadcasting, like any other business, or like 
preaching or school teaching, takes on the color 

1 Eugene J. Young, cable editor of The New York Times, 

in his book, Looking Behind the Censorships (New York: 

J. B. Lippincott Company, 1938), tells how difficult it is 
for the most competent newspaper reporters to discover 

what is going on in the field of foreign policy 7 . This is 
true also in democratic countries like Great Britain and 
the United States, where, despite the democratic form of 

government, the foreign office carries on much of its 
work behind a censorship. Mr. Young tells that our own 
State Department’s use of censorship is such that occa- 
sionally American newspapers first learn about import- 
ant Washington developments by reports from their 

foreign correspondents in European capitals. A policy of 

secrecy which hides facts makes discussion of facts diffi- 
cult or impossible and thus serves to restrict freedom of 

the air as well as freedom of the press. “Open covenants 
openly arrived at” was an American World War slogan 
which, however sincere in its initial statement, soon be- 
came a Glittering Generality. 

8 In The Psychology of Radio (New York: Harper & 
Brothers, 1935) the authors, Hadley Cantril and Gordon 
W. Allport, state that “when all things are considered, 
freedom of the air in America is probably as great as in 
most other countries and is certainly greater than in 

8 “The American System of Broadcasting and Its Func- 
tion in the Preservation of Democracy,” an address at 
the Town Hall Luncheon, Hotel Astor, New York City, 
April 28, 1938, p. 11. 

4 Ibid., pp. 8-9. 



of the prevailing social order. 5 Even so, sustain- 
ing programs often disseminate opinions or 
propagandas critical of the prevailing social 

A possible restriction of freedom is inherent 
in the National Association of Broadcasters’ 0 
code of ethics. For example: 1. No program 
shall offend public taste and common decency. 
(Let our readers try defining “public taste” and 
“common decency.”) 2. No program shall be 
planned as an attack on the United States Gov- 
ernment, its officers or otherwise constituted 
authorities or its fundamental principles. 
(What is an “attack”? What are “fundamental 
principles”? Would defenders of or apologists 
for presidential policies be guilty of “attack- 
ing”?) 3. No program shall be conceived or 
presented for the purpose of deliberately offend- 
ing the racial, religious, or otherwise socially 
conscious groups of the community. (What is 
offensive and when is it deliberate? Would a 
church attack on Franco, Hitler, Neville Cham- 
berlain, or the Vatican, or a church defense of 
these be offensive?) 

Advertisers who buy time on the air have 
commercial reasons for pleasing a maximum 
number of listeners and, if possible, offending 

To reach the lowest common denominator of 
listener appeal, with its emphases on popular 
music, popular humor, popular sentiment, 
common emotions, and widely accepted stereo- 
types, commercial broadcasters have taken over 
the “showmanship” concept from the theater, 
vaudeville, and the movies. 7 

In response to the need of advertisers to reach 
a maximum number of listeners has come the 
development of nationwide network broadcast- 
ing. This has tended to reduce the number of 
programs originating in local stations, to re- 
duce the contribution of regional cultures as 
feeders of the national cultural pool. Increas- 
ingly, we draw our national radio culture from 
a few major reservoirs, chiefly New York and 

Hollywood, with a few inter-connected centers, 
such as Washington, D. C. and Chicago. 8 

It is natural, therefore, that the American 
radio, like the American movies (see Propa- 
ganda Analysis for March, 1938) should reveal 
a tendency to perpetuate commonly accepted 
stereotypes; even so, the fact remains that the 
American system provides us with more quan- 
tity and probably, in the net, with more quality 
than is to be heard by listeners in other coun- 
tries. Despite restrictions American stations do 
provide something of that freedom of contro- 
versy which is the life of public opinion and 
the essence of democracy. 

Note the policy of the Columbia Broadcast- 
ing System, Inc., as expressed by its president, 
William S. Paley: 6 

. . . the Columbia Network has pledged itself not 
only to freedom of the air but to non-partisanship 
and fairness of the air. 

By freedom of the air we mean the right of any 
speaker to express his views, subject only to general 
laws and the laws of libel and slander, the rule that 
he may not seek to provoke racial or religious hatred 
and the ordinary limitations of good taste and the 
decorum appropriate to the homes of the nation. 

By non-partisanship we mean that broadcasting 
as an instrument of American democracy must for- 
ever be wholly, honestly and militantly non-partisan. 
This is true not only in politics, but in the whole 
realm of arguable social ideas. . . . 

By fairness we mean that no discussion must ever 
be one-sided so long as any qualified spokesman 
wants to take the other side. The party in power 
must never dominate the air. No majority must ever 
monopolize. Minorities must always have fair op- 
portunities to express themselves. 

Both CBS and NBC in the 1936 presidential 
election, despite opposition of anti-Communist 
groups, broadcast the campaign speeches of 
Earl Browder, Communist candidate for presi- 
dent. In this action, the networks followed the 
federal law which provides that minority partv 
candidates be permitted to buy radio time. 

Censorship whether by a government, a 

5 As Professor William Graham Sumner wrote in his 
book. Folkways, most individuals do not oppose or ap- 
prove opposition to the generally accepted habits, cus- 
toms, mores, folkways; yet it is only by free criticism of 
these that the ones which have outlived their usefulness 
to society may be supplanted by new and more socially 
useful ways of thinking and acting. 

6 Broadcasting in the United States (Washington: Na- 
tional Association of Broadcasters, 1933), p. 16. 

7 For clear descriptions, almost formulas, of how success- 

ful broadcasters obtain and hold audiences, see Kenneth 

M. Goode’s What About Radio? (New York: Harper & 
Brothers, 1937). 

8 American broadcasting is dominated by the four major 
chains: the National Broadcasting Companv with its 
Red and Blue networks of 148 owned or affiliated sta- 
tions, the Columbia Broadcasting System with 115 sta- 
tions, and the Mutual with 83 stations. 

9 Annual Report of the Columbia Broadcasting System, 
Inc. for the Fiscal Year ending January 1, 1938, New 
York, April 15, 1938, pp. 4-5. 



group, or an individual illustrates the common 
propaganda device of stacking the cards to pre- 
vent a fair hearing. Examples are cited by vari- 
ous writers . 1 * * * * * * * * 10 

Radio Commentators 

News dissemination and interpretation by 
radio offers constant opportunity for propa- 
ganda by commission and omission, by over- 
emphasis and under-emphasis. Because of its 
brevity, news-casting may be less “colored” than 
more extended reporting, but the speaker’s 
voice often conveys marked editorial emphasis. 
In this connection remember James Harvey 
Robinson’s comment that language is largely 
an emotional outlet, “corresponding to various 
cooings, growlings, snarls, crowings, and bray- 
ings.” The exclamation “Oh” or “Ah” can 
reflect approval or disdain. Boake Carter’s 
voice is more important than his words. If one 
writes out his sentences, they don’t ordinarily 
sound harsh; if one remembers the snarl in his 
words the effect is different, suggesting the prop- 
aganda device of Name Calling. Because of the 
size of their audiences and the potentialities of 
the human voice, radio news commentators 
may shape public opinion much more than 
newspaper editorials. 

Commentators, like editorial and advertising 
writers, seldom are wholly free to say what they 

like. Alexander Woollcott, the “Town Crier,” 
was relieved of his contract with “Cream of 
Wheat” when he refused, in his words, “to keep 
quiet about Hitler, Mussolini, or any other 
bully, jingo, or lyncher.” What the sponsor 
minded was not so much what Woollcott said 
about the dictators, but the fact that admirers 
of the dictators were boycotting his product. 
Had Woollcott praised Hitler and Mussolini 
the results doubtless would have been the same. 

In an early issue we shall analyze the Ford 
Sunday Evening Hour. We suspect John T. 
Flynn referred to this program in his recent 
speech at the Town Meeting of the Air, u when 
he said: 

On Sunday evening the family is gathered in the 
living room when into their midst float the strains 
of music from a great symphony orchestra. In mil- 
lions of homes people are listening. This goes on for 
half an hour. Then as the strains of some well-loved 
old song fade from the air and the family sits around, 
thoroughly softened up, there floats into the room 
and into the unguarded chambers of their minds the 
voice of the propagandist. For five or ten minutes 
the carefully planned infection flows. ... It tells of 
the romantic saga of business, the great achieve- 
ments, the massive wisdom, the matchless courage, 
the civilizing alchemy of the great business man as 
distinguished from the selfish and narrow ignorance 
and wickedness of the Government— the great-souled 
business leader compared with the small-minded and 
vicious Senator. 

10 Ruth Brindze, Not To Be Broadcast (New York: Van- 
guard Press, 1937), Minna Kassner and Lucien Zacharoff, 
Radio is Censored (New York: American Civil Liberties 
Union, 1936), Lillian Hurwitz, Radio Censorship (New 

York: American Civil Liberties Union, 1932), Cantril 
and Allport, The Psychology of Radio. 

11 “Is Our Public Opinion Controlled by Propaganda?” 
Bulletin of America's Town Meeting of the Air , Vol. 3, 
No. 24, April 18, 1938, pp. 12-13. 


1. It is well known that every now and then some 

groups raise a hue and cry over attacks which, they 
claim, are directed against our fundamental insti- 

tutions. Some of these groups belong to minority 

parties or consist of people with more radical views, 
who believe their freedom to speak and assemble 

is threatened. Others are made up of the people 
who benefit most from the status quo and fear the 

changes that are being proposed. Ask a number of 

people situated in different circumstances what they 
mean when they make the above claims. Write down 

their views. From these sum up what the various 

groups appear to fear most. Finally, in your own 

sober view, write what you think is threatening 
America’s basic institutions. Date your work and 

repeat it in the midst of the next presidential elec- 
tion, securing data from radio and press and inter- 

2. Describe what may happen in the next hun- 
dred years if propaganda is unchecked, continues to 
be more effective, and is not accompanied by educa- 
tion in understanding its nature. 

3. Visit classrooms, adult groups, public meetings, 
listen to radio discussions and talks, and keep track 
of the length of time given to views already de- 
termined and being propagated and of the length 
of time in which facts and invitations are offered to 
call out the new, original thinking of listeners or 

4. Rank five radio commentators according to 



your judgment of their accuracy and adequacy of 
facts, impartiality of interpretation, absence of prej- 
udice, emotional poise, technique of appeal. 

5. If individuals and groups can buy radio time, 
sponsor programs, own stations, and thus promote 
their own propagandas, should local, state, and fed- 
eral governments do likewise? Compare the effect 
on the people of the following systems: suppression 
of all opinion except the official government propa- 

ganda; equal freedom of opinion and facilities for 
expression of major points of view including that 
of the party in office; equal freedom of opinion and 
facilities for expression of major points of view but 
none for the party in office. 

6. Discuss methods by which radio programs may 
be selected, enjoyed, and participated in by all mem- 
bers of the family. 

Volume I JULY, 1938 Number 10 

The Ford Sunday Evening Hour 

H ENRY FORD is a man of strong opinions, 
which is to say, strong propagandas. More 
than a generation ago he had the opinion that 
the horse and buggy should be supplanted by 
the horseless carriage. Thanks largely to his in- 
ventive genius, his energy, his industry, to his 
propaganda for the “Tin Lizzies,” and to gov- 
ernment cooperation in building roads for 
them to run on, his idea was realized. When the 
World War came, he had an opinion about 
that: it could be ended by the right kind of 
propaganda. So he sailed on a “Peace Ship” to 
“get the boys out of the trenches by Christmas.” 
That propaganda failed. When the United 
States entered the war, Ford changed his opin- 
ion. He built and sold automotive equipment 
and Eagle Boats to “help win the war.” 

Ford's derogatory opinion of Jews was an- 
other propaganda. It was expressed in anti- 
Semitic articles published in his paper. The 
Dearborn Independent , on the editorial staff 
of which was William J. Cameron, the present 
Ford spokesman on the radio program known 
as the Ford Sunday Evening Hour. When a 
number of libel suits were brought against 
Ford as a result of his anti-Jewish propaganda 
in The Dearborn Independent , he repudiated 
the offensive statements, said they had been 
published without his knowledge. 

In his talks over the Columbia Broadcasting 
System's network, Mr. Cameron has dissemi- 
nated so much propaganda on controversial 
matters that the Ford Sundav Evening Hour 
promises soon to become a live issue within the 
broadcasting industry. As we stated in our June 
letter, it is the policy of the major networks 
not to sell time for propaganda on controversial 
public issues. This policy Mr. Cameron has vio- 

lated. What C.B.S. will do about it, we do not 
know. There may be a lively contest soon be- 
tween Mr. Ford and C.B.S. , probably behind 
closed doors. It seems hardly possible that any 
major network can long continue to permit a 
commercial broadcaster to use radio time to 
utter opinions or propagandas which arouse 
sharp opposition. Some listeners may ask that 
another side be heard, obviously an impractical 
solution on commercial time; denied this privi- 
lege, their resentment against the buyer of time 
is turned against the company which sells the 

But who is William J. Cameron whose talks 
have raised this issue? According to a news- 
paper comment (New York Post, April 29, 
1938) he dismisses questions about his back- 
ground with the phrase “of Scotch descent”; 
doesn’t disclose his age, middle name, birth- 
place, or names of parents. Before his connec- 
tion with Ford’s Dearborn Independent he 
wrote editorials for The Detroit Neios; before 
that he was a preacher. His radio talks, like 
those of Father Coughlin, reveal pulpit ora- 
torical methods standardized for certain forms 
of sermons. 

Mr. Cameron still is much interested in Jews. 
He has been president of the Anglo-Saxon Fed- 
eration of America, with offices in Detroit, 
Michigan; more recently member of the edi- 
torial board of its magazine, Destiny. The mem- 
bers of this group hold the theory that the in- 
habitants of the British Isles are the descend- 
ants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. In a 
tract, explaining this theory, Mr. Cameron has 

We know the divine destiny that Israel was com- 
missioned to fulfill. We know that Israel left Pales- 



tine, while the Jews remained. We can trace Israel 
out of the East and across Europe to their new set- 
tlement in the Isles. 

How much Mr. Ford influences Mr. Cam- 
eron and how much Mr. Cameron influences 
Mr. Ford, we do not know. Undoubtedly each 
influences the opinions and the propagandas 
of the other. 1 

Each year, for thirty-nine Sunday evenings, 
since October, 1934, the Ford Motor Company 
has sponsored an hour of symphonic music 
over the Columbia Broadcasting System. The 
programs are “kept within the widest range of 
general interest,” (Edsel Ford, October 7, 1934) 
and instrumental and vocal soloists appear 
with the orchestra. The three products of the 
Company are mentioned only once. 

Approximately six minutes of the hour are 
devoted to talks by Mr. Cameron, who would 
be identified as the Company’s public relations 
counsel except that the “Ford Motor Company 
has no public relations department and em- 
ploys no public relations counsel or ‘spokes- 
man.’ ” (“Public Relations,” February 14, 

IC J37-)' 

The purpose of the talks, according to Mr. 
Edsel Ford (October 7, 1934), is to “try to bring 
variety to these programs by talking over . . . 
some topic of general interest, or answering 
certain questions. about our company that are 
widely asked.” According to Mr. Cameron (Oc- 
tober 7, 1934) the talks are designed to assist 
the American people in understanding their 
various interests by supplying them with ac- 
curate information and sound experience. The 
Company has “a deep interest and confidence 
in American principles, but ... no partisan 
purpose or interest whatsoever.” (“Light 
Ahead,” September 29, 1935.) The talks are 
devoted “to matters of general interest and in- 
formation, to the service of common sense and 
to the building of a balanced and fearless con- 
fidence based on facts.” (“Third Season,” Sep- 
tember 20, 1936.) Again, at the close of the 
1 935-36 series Mr. Cameron (“End of the Sea- 
son,” June 21, 1936) said: “We had no theories 
to propagate. We are not professional reform- 
ers and have no political axe to grind. Not even 
in behalf of capitalism did we offer any special 

The Talks as Propaganda 

An analysis of the talks reveals clear-cut prop- 
aganda in many of them. Behind them is the 
personality of Henry Ford, his opinions and 
convictions. In effect Henry Ford is doing the 
talking. His philosophy of individualism, his 
type of Americanism, and his trust in a com- 
petitive system run all through the talks. 

In talk after talk he makes “the American 
way” synonymous with the Ford way. Anti- 
Ford becomes anti-American. For example, Mr. 
Cameron devoted a talk (“Will Hard Times 
Come Again?” March 8, 1936) to the taxation 
of surpluses. His Company was never men- 
tioned; but we were told that the American 
way is quite clear upon this point, that taxation 
of surpluses is not American. If Mr. Cameron 
had stated that the Ford Motor Company does 
not want a tax upon corporate surpluses, he 
would have been saying baldly what was con- 
veyed by indirection. In discussing “Good Will 
and Common Sense,” (December 9, 1934) Mr. 
Cameron stated that the American doctrine is 
that progress is only beginning. He then said: 
“A new social plan now being offered us — a 
new political talking point — is called Unem- 
ployment Insurance. It was invented in coun- 
tries that have accepted unemployment and 
poverty as final conditions.” 

Mr. Ford Is t{ Plain Folks ” 

The entire Hour is designed to create a 
“plain folks” atmosphere. As noted above, the 
musical selections are kept “within the widest 
range of general interest.” (Edsel Ford, Octo- 
ber 7, 1934.) The lighter works of composers 
are often chosen. The Hour ends on a reverent 
note with a hymn in which the audience is 
asked to join. 

Henry Ford is pictured as a common, ordi- 
nary American. We are told how he shares the 
great American sentiment for McGuffey Read- 
ers and old American songs. (W. J. Cameron, 
October 7, 1934.) One talk entitled “Just Cir- 
culating ’Round” (October 14, 1934) states that 
Mr. Ford’s desk is never used by him and that 
when last seen it was covered with boxes of 
wax dolls. And further: 

The only letters he [Mr. Ford] takes time to write 
with his own hand are to little boy and girl friends 

1 For accounts of Henry Ford’s life the reader is referred 
to his autobiography written in collaboration with 
Samuel Crowther, My Life and Work (New York: Garden 
City Publishing Co., Inc., 1922, out of print) and Upton 

Sinclair’s The Flivver King (published and distributed by 
the author, Station A, Pasadena, California, 25c). 

* Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are taken 
from Mr. Cameron’s Sunday Evening Hour talks. 



who are having a birthday. . . . He will nail up a door 
for a whole season rather than disturb a robin’s nest; 
he has postponed the hay harvest because ground 
birds were brooding in the field. . . . Rising at 6 in 
the morning, he is often one of the tens of thousands 
of Ford men going to work. . . . 

Mr. Cameron says that Ford is so little in- 
terested in profits per se that “it makes hard- 
fisted money-makers wonder why Mr. Ford is 
in business at all.” (“The Money Flow,” May 
23, 1937.) Ford as a youth working on his first 
gasoline engine in the kitchen of an ordinary 
two-story double brick house “manipulated the 
fly-wheel . . . [while] his young wife poured the 
gasoline drop by drop . . . into the intake check 
valve.” (“The First Little Shop,” October 20, 
1935.) Mr. Ford inspired the verse of Edgar 
Guest (“Henry Ford,” March 29, 1936) begin- 
ning with the lines: 

He started to sing as he tackled the thing 

That couldn’t be done, and he did it. 

“His greatest personal pleasure— creating more 
jobs. His constant goal — higher and yet higher 
wages. . . . Faces the future unperturbed, with 
faith in American people and American des- 
tiny.” (Ibid.) 

Since Henry Ford is the Ford Motor Com- 
pany, the effect of this use of the Plain Folks 
device is to develop the impression that the 
Company is in reality nothing more than a 
benevolent organization, uninterested in prof- 
its, ready to sacrifice an economic advantage for 
a humane principle, engaged in manufacturing 
automobiles solely to create jobs and raise 
wages. The device, thus used, reduces a gigantic 
industrial empire to the scale of a company 
which is merely the image of a simple, kindly, 
generous, democratic man. The Company be- 
comes “plain folks, just like us.” 

Mr. Ford and “Virtue” Words 

Freedom, independence, initiative, inven- 
tion, industry, truth, and loyalty are “virtue” 
words with which the propagandist seeks to 
associate his program. 

Consider “freedom.” Mr. Cameron uses it in 
the sense of laissez-faire. “Freedom” becomes 
the right of indus^y, that is of the Ford Motor 
Company, to operate without governmental 
interference. “Individualism,” he says, (“Amer- 
ican Individualism,” October 28, 1934) is com- 
posed of “four elements — Initiative, Inven- 
tion, Industry, Independence.” The “anti-in- 
dividualism” trend which has appeared in 

recent years becomes, therefore, an attack upon 
these four “virtues.” Further, since “Initiative, 
Invention, Industry, and Independence” are 
all inherent in the American character, and 
since all of them together compose “Individu- 
alism,” an attack upon “Individualism” is an 
attack upon the American character and upon 
Mr. Ford. 

In one talk (“The McGuffey Readers,” March 
17, 1935) Company not only becomes a con- 
crete example of these “virtues,” but it becomes 
the supporter of “truthfulness, industry, con- 
sideration for the weak, kindness, respect of 
conscience, a firm reliance on the right to 

justify itself always and everywhere ” These 

were the “tonic iron” that McGuffey in his 
Readers “distilled for the soul of young Amer- 
ica.” Mr. Cameron then goes on to say: “Many 
wish that our present public education might 
be made the means of character formation that 
it was in McGuffey’s day. We are trying to re- 
store that type of teaching at Greenfield Vil- 

What appears to be a consistent policy of Mr. 
Cameron is to make several talks that, taken 
separately, seem to have no propaganda intent, 
but, when viewed in the light of subsequent 
talks, become an important part of the whole. 
For instance, he devoted three of his talks in 
succession to eulogies of the late King George 
V, of the American Constitution, and of 
Thomas Alva Edison. (January 26, February 2, 
February 9, 1936.) These were followed by a 
talk entitled “Nothing Good Is Lost,” (Febru- 
ary 16, 1936) a defense of machinery and tech- 
nological improvement, and by implication, of 
the Ford Motor Company. This policy of Mr. 
Cameron might be compared to that of the 
“change of pace” of a baseball pitcher, a 
method by which the thrower outwits the bat- 
ter by giving him a few slow balls and then 
throws a fast one. Thus, during the 1935-1936 
season Mr. Cameron devoted sixteen of his 
thirty-nine talks to such subjects as “American 
Sport,” “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” “The 
Feast of Good Will,” “George Washington,” 
“The Light of Easter,” and “Mother’s Day.” 
Some of these were by no means devoid of 
propaganda, but they may be distinguished 
from another group of talks un “Buildings and 
Motors,” “Who Owns the United States?” 
“Who Gets The Income?” and “Business and 
Recovery” which were largely propaganda. A 
talk on “American Sport” (October 6, 1935) 



developed into a study of its competitive na- 
ture; and from this the deduction was drawn 
that “our American sport contests have a lesson 
for all statesmen inoculated with foreign the- 

By devoting nearly half his talks to subjects 
that do not on the surface contain propaganda, 
Mr. Cameron builds up our “receptivity’' and 
lowers our “resistance” to talks which contain 

Heroes and Villains 

Name Calling is frequently implied or used 
by Mr. Cameron when he talks about writers 
and politicians. Just as production engineers 
are the “heroes” of his discourses, writers and 
politicians are the “villains.” In discussing cer- 
tain types of writers he applies to them the label 
of “the so-called intelligentsia” and says (“Lib- 
eral Youth,” October 18, 1936): 

Fostering itself within itself as most ingrowing 
aberrations do, itself writing books about itself for 
itself to read, delivering lectures to itself, drawing 
its bread ration from the system it pretends to de- 
spise, and seriously believing its own inflation to be 
substantial power, it presents a clear-cut pathological 

In a talk entitled “The ‘Speed Up’ ” (Novem- 
ber 7, 1937) h e ma de the point that magazine 
articles critical of the factory assembly line and 
the “speed up” are usually written by those 
who are obviously never meant for mechanical 
work, certainly not for factory work. In this 

8 Christy Borth, special assignment writer for the Detroit 
Free Press, wrote “Americana: On the Line” ( The Read- 
er’s Digest, July, 1937) in reply to Gene Richard’s “Time 

same talk Mr. Cameron recommended an ar- 
ticle in The Reader’s Digest 1 2 3 for the “real, in- 
side story” of the assembly line. 

But if adversely critical writers are bad, poli- 
ticians are worse. For instance: 

Public life with its deplorable standards; oaths of 
office notoriously violated; rampant disorders abet- 
ted and protected by political power; public ut- 
terances scandalously unreliable — these are infi- 
nitely more costly to the nation than legal crime. 
We have witnessed not merely a departure from 
principles of rectitude in public life, but a shocking 
ignorance that anything like principle exists. What 
formerly was concealed for shame, now passes for 
bad political cleverness. (“For Character and Coun- 
try/' March 21, 1937.) 

Government had nothing to do with the 
bringing of the motor and aviation age into 
being, according to Mr. Cameron. (“Horse and 
Buggy Age,” October 25, 1936.) The vast pro- 
gram of public highways which made possible 
the utilization of the automobile he does not 
mention. He does not allude to government 
regulations to safeguard citizens against auto- 
mobile accidents nor to the need for increased 
government expenditures to combat types of 
crimes made more easily possible by the* auto- 

In summary, Mr. Cameron’s talks stack the 
cards in favor of the Ford Motor Company 
and against writers, government officials, labor 
leaders, and others who do not approve of Ford 
policies. This obviously is what he is paid to 
do. He does it effectively. 

Clock No. 1135284” ( The Atlantic Monthly, April, 1937 
and The Reader’s Digest, May, 1937). 


1. Discuss the following assumption and its prev- 
alence: “All that is needed to bring peace and order, 
either internationally or between employers and em- 
ployes, is goodwill among men. There is no basic 
difference between opponents in either field, but 
ill will nourished by agitation and propaganda.” 

2. Speakers frequently use the term “an ordinary 
American.” Discuss him, try to understand him, and 
describe him realistically. 

3. American business has advanced with leaps and 
bounds in its ability to produce a variety of goods 
on an immense scale. This rapid advance is due 
largely to two factors, both of which involve careful 
and accurate thinking: excellent organization for 
economical mass production and distribution, and 

the use of constantly improved inventions, ma- 
chinery, and scientific discoveries, particularly in 
physics, chemistry, and electricity. Discuss the effect 
of these factors on our attitude toward business 
methods, business theories and propaganda. 

4. It is recommended that the group purchase and 
study together Technological Trends and National 
Policy (Washington, D.C.: United States Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1937, pp. 388, $1.00), a report 
of the Subcommittee on Technology to the Na- 
tional Resources Committee. In a forceful and most 
readable manner the report shows some of the social 
aspects of technical developments, the relationship 
between science and technology, and technical de- 
velopments in various fields. 

Volume I 

AUGUST, 1938 

Number 11 

The Public Relations Counsel 
and Propaganda 

AS FAR as Hollywood is concerned, all news- 
ii papermen are drunkards, crime doesn’t 
pay, virtue always triumphs, and press agents, 
while they mean well, of course, somehow can- 
not realize until the very last reel that Mona 
Mari, the glamorous movie star, would rather 
have love than money, or even her career. It’s 
had enough when they ask Miss Mari to bathe 
in milk, wear overalls, and keep trained lions 
as pets — all in the interest of publicity. When 
they smash her engagement by concocting an 
imaginary romance with her leading man that 
makes page one in the New York Times , how- 
ever — well, that is just too much. “Is nothing 
sacred to you?” Miss Mari storms. “Will you 
stop at nothing to get another story into the 
papers?” And, tearing her contract to confetti, 
she hurtles from the press agent’s office, while 
the agent, sputtering in amazement, leaps for 
the nearest telephone. 

Now, there may be press agents like that; in 
fact, there probably are — in Hollywood, where 
Marlene Dietrich wears pants, Garbo talks only 
to Leopold Stokowski, people are engaged for 
the morning papers, and divorced for the 
afternoons. Press agents there seem to stay up 
all night thinking of Samuel Goldwynisms to 
put in Samuel Goldwyn’s mouth; plans are pro- 
posed for plastering the pyramids of Egypt with 

Nevertheless, it would hardly be too much 
to say that, on the whole, the average press 
agent resembles the Hollywood stereotype as 
closely as the average newspaperman resembles 
the wild but ah! so brilliant movie reporter. 
He doesn’t wear loud-checked suits. He doesn’t 
talk in exclamation points. He doesn’t shout 
“Wadcla story! Wadda story!” If he’s doing 
publicity for an industrial corporation, he 
probably refers to himself as Public Relations 
Director or Vice-president in Charge of Public 
Relations; has an elaborate office; and helps to 
shape the corporation’s even- policv. If he’s in 
business for himself, then he probably uses the 
imposing title, Counsel on Public Relations. 

In spite of the movies, he isn’t particularly 
worried about grabbing space in the papers. 
He doesn’t want so much to attract public at- 
tention; he wants rather to mold the public’s 
mind. And newspaper publicity is just one tool 
among many whereby he can do this. (There 
are times, in fact, when the public relations 
counsel may even decide that newspaper pub- 
licity is undesirable. For example, Alva Johns- 
ton in his article, “Jimmy’s Got It,” tells how 
George Washington Hill, of the American To- 
bacco Company, was advised by Ivy Lee and 
T. J. Ross that should he decide to have him- 
self insured for $10,000,000, as Theodore M. 
Riehle, the insurance agent, had suggested, it 
would be unwise from the standpoint of public 
relations to publicize the fact. Investors, they 
said, might conclude that he was in bad health.) 

The public relations counsel knows the value 
of concealing his own motives, the motives of 
his clients, and, if need be, even the identity 
of his clients. For, with few exceptions, those 
motives are never altruistic. It is the rare organ- 
ization, indeed, that is willing to spend as much 
as $500,000 in one year for public relations (and 
even bigger sums have been spent) just from 
an over-powering sense of civic duty. On the 
other hand, if special pleading is recognized 
for what it really is, then it loses much of its 
effect. So the public relations counsel masks 
his special pleading in luscious, mouth-filling 
virtue words, Glittering Generalities. And he 
masks the identity of his clients by creating an 
organization, with some high-sounding name, 
to carry on the propaganda. 

“Institutes” and “ Foundations ” 

Generally, he prefers to create an institute 
or foundation. There is something about the 
very words “institute” and “foundation” that 
seems almost to mesmerize the American peo- 
ple. They conjure up visions of Airowsmith : 
white-tiled laboratories, serious, young scien- 
tists, microscopes, guinea-pigs — giving their 
all for humanity. They make the public think 



of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie 
Foundation, the Brookings Institution, all the 
other institutes and foundations that have done 
so much to further the quest for knowledge. 
Thus, by creating an “institute” or “founda- 
tion,” the public relations counsel transfers 
the prestige of those devoted to public service 
to the one he would use to achieve a private 
end — the Transfer device. 

The public relations counsel establishes the 
American Economic Foundation, the Edison 
Electric Institute, the Radio Institute of the 
Audible Arts, the Temperature Research Foun- 
dation, the Cleanliness Institute, the Asphalt 
Roofing and Shingle Institute, and countless 
others. Each, he tells us, has been created in 
our interests; each wants only to serve us. Just 
like the Rockefeller Foundation; just like the 
Brookings Institution. 

A high-sounding name, however, is not 
enough. A high-sounding board of directors is 
also needed: leaders in public life, well-known 
business men, educators, scientists. These can 
always be found. Some will lend their names 
from sincere conviction. George Sylvester Vier- 
eck, for example, has often lent not only his 
name but even his time and talents and money 
to pro-German organizations, for Mr. Viereck 
has been intensely pro-German since his college 
days, and even during the World War hysteria, 
when pro-German sympathies meant persecu- 
tion. Similarly, Carl Crow and Theodore 
Roosevelt, Jr., who are helping Carl Byoir Sc 
Associates, Inc. with its pro-China campaign, 
could hardly be suspected of acting from any 
but the highest motives. Nevertheless, there are 
those only too ready to serve as directors of any 
propaganda organization which will pay them 
enough. And there are others who, although 
they receive no money, hope for another kind 
of compensation — publicity, for example, or 
special favors. 

America’s outstanding exponent of the in- 
stitute has long been Edward L. Bernays; in 
fact, he might even be credited with inventing 
this type of institute. Some time ago, before the 
World War and before the facts of life had 
achieved their present esteem, Richard Ben- 
nett, the actor, decided to produce Brieux’s 
play, Damaged Goods. He was afraid, however, 
that his show might be raided by the police; 
and to prevent this, he retained Mr. Bernays as 
public relations counsel. Mr. Bernays, who 
then was the editor of the Dietetic Health 

Gazette and the Medical Review of Reviews , 
organized the Sociological Fund and for it so- 
licited members from New York’s 400. The 
avowed purpose of the organization was to 
fight venereal disease through education. Its 
real purpose was to make the public receptive 
to Brieux’s play. 

Apparently the plan worked: the police 
didn’t touch Damaged Goods ; and Mr. Bernays 
was convinced that his plan really had poten- 
tialities. The result is that Mr. Bernays has 
since created more institutes, funds, institu- 
tions, and foundations than Rockefeller, Car- 
negie, and Filene together. Typical of them 
was the Temperature Research Foundation. Its 
stated purpose was “to disseminate impartial, 
scientific information concerning the latest de- 
velopments in temperature control as they af- 
fect the health, leisure, happiness, and economy 
of the American people.” A minor purpose — 
so minor that rarely did Mr. Bernays remember 
even to mention it — was to boost the sales 
of Kelvinator refrigerators, air-conditioning 
units, and electric stoves. 

Another type of organization that the coun- 
sel on public relations likes to establish is the 
citizens’ committee. Nothing is more basic to 
the democratic idea than is the right of like- 
minded citizens to band together in order to 
further their views. It was such committees — 
the Committees on Correspondence — which 
helped start the American Revolution. 

However, it takes organizational ability, 
time, and, most important of all, money to 
establish a citizens’ committee. The public re- 
lations counsel, who is well-paid by his clients, 
has all three. What is more, prominent spon- 
sors can just as easily be lined up for a com- 
mittee as for an institute, and for exactly the 
same reasons. So we find that John Price Jones 
had an energetic finger in the formation of the 
Citizens’ National Committee, which received 
so much publicity in the papers last year. 

Now the question arises: how does the pub- 
lic relations counsel get his ideas before the 
public? Naturally, he does not want to use ad- 
vertising: the advertisement is obvious special 
pleading, and obvious special pleading, as has 
already been noted, is relatively ineffectual. 
Consequently, the public relations counsel at- 
tempts to slip his propaganda into the press as 
news, features, or editorials; into the newsreels 
under the same guise; into the magazines as 
unbiased articles, written by disinterested au- 



charities; into the ether as sustaining radio pro- 
grams; and into the movies. 

His simplest, though not in any sense his 
most potent, technique is merely to print bro- 
chures and pamphlets and to distribute them, 
under the name of his institute, among the 
nation’s “leaders of public opinion.” These 
are the public officials in every community, the 
leading business men, bankers, educators, civic 
leaders, and newspaper editors, who have the 
respect of their fellow citizens, and whose opin- 
ions carry weight. No doubt you have received 
many of these publications. They come from 
the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Edi- 
son Electric Institute, the National Association 
of Manufacturers, and hundreds of similar or- 
ganizations. Not long ago the Sutton News Serv- 
ice was sending them out for the Japanese 
Chamber of Commerce to combat the boycott 
of Japanese goods. (In 1933, the Farm Equip- 
ment Institute retained three college pro- 
fessors to answer the charges of two govern- 
ment agencies that prices of farm machinery 
were too high. A report was prepared by the 
professors; the American Society of Agricul- 
tural Engineers, of which they were all mem- 
bers, agreed to sponsor it. And the very govern- 
ment agencies that had attacked the farm 
equipment industry reprinted excerpts from 
the professors’ report and circulated them 
widely — completely unaware that, instead of 
being an unbiased, objective study, it was paid 
[if well disguised] propaganda against them- 

T he Newspaper Release 

The most common technique is the newspa- 
per release (newspapermen call them “hand- 
outs,” but the counsel on public relations ab- 
hors that word). These are mimeographed 
articles, written in newspaper style, which, the 
public relations counsel is convinced, have news 
value. Sometimes they have. They may, for ex- 
ample, describe an important and news-worthy 
contribution to science and industry that has 
recently been made by the press agent’s client. 
Or again, the client’s employes may have gone 
on strike; their union naturally has made de- 
mands and charges; the newspaper release will 
outline the company’s defense. 

On the whole, however, these newspaper re- 
leases are simply advertisements written as 
news. They are printed either because the news- 
paper does not hire enough reporters and is, 

therefore, short of copy, or else because the 
publisher thinks he will be able to get advertis- 
ing from the company if his paper runs its 

Occasionally, when his client has done noth- 
ing of news-interest and he wants to get more 
space in the papers than he can with releases 
that are blatant advertising, the public rela- 
tions counsel will make news. He may stage 
luncheons, dinners, or conferences, at which 
prominent men will speak. (The speakers, it 
goes without saying, will always express the 
very ideas that he wants to pound into the 
public’s mind.) He may hold contests, like the 
soap-sculpture contest of the Cleanliness Insti- 
tute; he may arrange for the award of scholar- 
ships to worthy high school graduates; he may 
arrange such events as the “Golden Jubilee of 
Light,” at which Thomas Edison reenacted the 
invention of the incandescent lamp. 

New refinements in the press agent’s tech- 
nique are the “news bureaus.” These masque- 
rade, though not always with success, as regular 
news agencies like the Associated Press, the 
United Press, and the International News Serv- 
ice. They distribute news, pictures, features, 
and editorials without charge to any paper that 
would rather save on its editorial budget than 
print legitimate news. One such organization 
is Six Star Service, maintained by the National 
Association of Manufacturers. Among its prod- 
ucts is the feature “Uncle Abner Says.” Another 
is the Health News Service, which supplies 
news of developments in the field of public 
health — in order to boost the consumption of 
milk. Still another is the Fashion Worth News, 
which supplies news of fashions — in order to 
boost the sale of Cluett Peabody Co. shirts. The 
Foremost Feature Service sends eleven or twelve 
news pictures each week to any paper that 
wants them, but three or four of the pictures 
are really disguised propaganda. 

And do you read the “Letters to the Editor” 
column in your paper? Surely there can’t be 
propaganda there: just letters from readers 
with an idea. Yet, according to Walter Win- 
chell, an investigation by New York City edi- 
tors recently showed that half of the letters they 
received had originated in one publicity office. 
And the American Newspaper Publishers Asso- 
ciation has frequently pointed out to its mem- 
bers the amazing similarity between letters that 
supposedly have been written by several dif- 
ferent people. 

6 4 


Pulchritude and Propaganda 

Pick up your newspaper again. Scattered 
through it are pictures of pretty girls with 
slender ankles, shapely legs. Most of them are 
skimpily dressed — in bathing suits, perhaps — 
and they are swimming, playing tennis, surf- 
board riding, dancing at (the captions are care- 
ful to mention) Spring Lake, N. J.; Sun Valley, 
Idaho; Old Point Comfort, Va.; Miami and 
Miami Beach, Fla. Most of those girls are pro- 
fessional actresses. Many of them were posed 
for the photographs by Carl Byoir, Steve Han- 
nagan, or Hamilton Wright. 

If you want to see them again, drop into your 
neighborhood movie house. They’ll be in the 
newsreels, swimming, playing tennis, surf- 
board riding, etc., again to publicize Spring 
Lake, N. J., Sun Valley, Idaho, etc. 

The ether is just as cluttered with propa- 
ganda as the press. Often, radio broadcasters 
are unable to sell time during the morning 
hours, and they are therefore forced to put on 
sustaining programs. These cost money, and 
they bring no revenue. So the public relations 
counsel prepares talks, has them mimeo- 
graphed, and sends them free of charge to radio 
stations. Now the station does not have to 
spend money on script-writers. It can have its 
announcer read the prepared talk. Occasion- 
ally, the public relations counsel may hire 
some one to write dramatic sketches, hire actors 
to present them, and have the show recorded. 
He will then mail out the records, and the 
radio stations will be able to put these interest- 
ing dramatic programs on the air — for nothing. 

One such recorded program is the “American 

Family Robinson,” distributed by the National 
Association of Manufacturers. More than 150 
radio stations are said to use it. Another is 
George E. Sokolsky’s weekly review of the news, 
also distributed by the N.A.M. 

It is somewhat more difficult to stuff the na- 
tional magazines with propaganda. Their 
standards are too high; and besides, most of 
their articles either come from staff reporters 
or are written on assignment. If the public re- 
lations counsel succeeds in hiring some one 
who is capable enough to write articles that 
national magazines will buy, he is pretty lucky. 
Otherwise he will have to depend on selling 
the magazine editors on ideas for articles, hop- 
ing that whoever is assigned to write them will 
have the right point of view. 

This article is not intended to indict the 
business of public relations. Our society is run 
by public opinion; daily, institutions clash with 
institutions, and ideas with ideas, for public 
favor. In this war of propagandas, as the Insti- 
tute has pointed out in previous letters, we all 
participate. What other people do poorly, the 
public relations counsel does well. If his meth- 
ods seem rather shoddy, at times — and they 
do — the fault lies not so much with him as 
with the conditions that make those methods 
efficacious: the willingness of the press and ra- 
dio to cooperate with the public relations coun- 
sel, the readiness of the average man or woman 
to get on the band wagon, the fact that we 
often let our biases and prejudices, rather than 
our minds, think for us. 


1. The public relations counsel can work only 
with the public as it is. This means with its preva- 
lent fears and desires, hopes, ideals, and wishes. 
Make a list of the fears, desires, and ideals present 
in your group, which could be utilized by public 
relations counsels. Expand this list to include other 
people in your community. Expand it to include 
people in other communities. 

2. There is a growing suspicion that, disguised in 
all kinds of forms, propaganda is being “put over” 
on the public. This illustrates a dilemma faced by 
all serious and conscientious students of propa- 
ganda. To be innocent and naively ignorant in the 
understanding of propaganda is not desirable. But 
it is also not desirable to be unable to enjoy a news- 

paper or magazine, a movie or radio program with- 
out “smelling a rat” around the corner. The un- 
certainty in which most of us find ourselves demands 
a conscious and careful effort to find a position 
somewhere between these two extremes. Discuss the 
situation, and then write a page of advice for a high 
school student showing him how to see the situation 
clearly. In other words, change uncertainty into 
some kind of trustworthy testing for newsreels, mag- 
azine articles, radio programs, newspaper editorials, 
news, and feature articles. 

3. Make a thorough study of the various aspects 
of peace propaganda. Assign a different national 
peace organization to each member of the group or 
to committees of three or four members. The organ- 



izations, their programs, plans, purposes, and prop- 
aganda should be studied carefully. Bring the reports 
together. Discuss the extent to which the activities 
of the peace organizations are propaganda, educa- 
tion, or both. Evaluate the effects of peace propa- 
ganda and peace education in promoting peace, 
without losing sight of the extent and the duration 
of these effects. Write a critical commentary on the 
value of propaganda in promoting peace. 

4. Has our Federal Government any right to dis- 
seminate propaganda within the borders of the 
United States? 1 Such activities are paid for by taxes 
collected alike from citizens who agree and disagree 
with the Government. Is it right to use the money 
of those who disagree to spread propaganda which 
they believe is false or for a wrong purpose? Do our 
laws permit non-governmental groups to spread true 
or false propaganda about the Federal Government 
and its officers? Has the Federal Government the 
right or the obligation to spread what it believes is 
true propaganda about itself, its plans, purposes, 
and theories? 

5. Consider an actual public relations campaign 

1 Note to Discussion Leader: In considering these ques- 
tions, try to discuss them in the abstract first; it will then 
be easier and more fruitful to take concrete illustrations. 

for, let us say, better street lights. How would you 
plan the program? To which groups would you ap- 
peal? What appeals would you make? Why? How 
would you go about getting your propaganda into 
the newspapers? Onto radio programs? What about 
word-of-mouth propaganda? Could you create that? 
Flow? Is there any way in which you could drama- 
tize the need for better street lighting, first in order 
to get your propaganda into the papers, and second 
to crystallize public opinion? How could you im- 
press upon your City Council the extent of the 
demand for better street lighting? Would commit- 
tees of prominent citizens help? Delegations? Peti- 
tions? How could you arrange these? How would 
you finance the program? 

6. Pick up your morning paper and study the 
stories on the front page. How did the newspaper 
get them? Did the newspaper send out a reporter 
to cover the story? If so, how did the paper know 
that it was going to happen? Was the story written 
from a “handout” (i.e., an account of the event pre- 
pared at the request of some one vitally interested 
in the event)? In that case, do you think it is the 
whole story? When a paper says, “It was learned 
...” or “According to reliable information . . . ” 
just what does it mean? Obviously some one must 
have told the paper. Why isn’t his name given? 

Volume I SEPTEMBER, 1938 Number 12 

Propaganda: Some Illustrations 

In Washington, Robert M. La- 
Kickback Follette’s committee on civil lib- 
erties has been putting together, 
piece by piece, the story of Little Steel's cam- 
paign to smash the C.I.O. From letters, and 
from sworn testimony, Mr. LaFollette’s Senate 
committee has shown how Little Steel attempted 
to influence the press of Alabama; how it hired 
George E. Sokolsky, the newspaper columnist, 
to address huge anti-union meetings; how, with 
the help of the National Association of Manu- 
facturers, it actually staged the meetings, yet 
managed to conceal the fact. 

Little Steel’s campaign, it would appear, fol- 
lowed the old, though still potent formula de- 
scribed in the Institute’s last monthly letter. 
“Civic groups” were organized. “Names” were 
bought. Pamphlets and brochures were issued. 
The press was flooded with handouts and 

In charge of some of these activities was Hill 
and Knowlton, the public relations firm of 
Cleveland and New York. 

If Hill and Knowlton was in any way embar- 
rassed by the Senate committee’s revelations, 
the reason, perhaps, is that it neglected to prac- 
tice what its senior partner, John W. Hill, so 
eloquently preaches. Last year, Tom M. Gird- 
ler, chairman of the board of the Republic Steel 
Corporation, showed the Senate Post Office 
Committee some photographs of “the weapons 
of war taken from these C.I.O. forces by the 
public authorities.” Last month the LaFollette 
committee was informed that Mr. Girdler had 
really been showing the Senate photographs 
of some one’s private gun collection. Mr. La- 
Follette’s committee learned further that Mr. 
Girdler had gotten the photos from Hill and 

This must have caused Hill and Knowlton to 



recall, with regret, Mr. Hill’s address before the 
Office Equipment Manufacturers’ Institute at 
Toronto, Canada, last June. “The job of public 
relations,” said Mr. Hill sagely, “is not for the 
amateur. In the first place, he is likely to exag- 
gerate; in the second place, he so stretches his 
bias that it becomes an untruth. 

“In public relations there is never any value 
in an untruth. The public will sense it sooner 
or later, and an unpleasant boomerang will be 
at work.” 

Mr. Sokolsky wasn’t particularly flustered by 
the LaFollette committee’s disclosure that Hill 
and Knowlton and the National Association of 
Manufacturers had paid him more than $28,000 
in eighteen months to denounce the C.I.O.; but 
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which runs Mr. 
Sokolsky ’s column, would just as soon that you 
didn’t mention the whole affair. The Post- 
Gazette doesn’t. In fact, it deleted all references 
to Mr. Sokolsky from the Associated Press story 
about the LaFollette committee’s hearings. In 
this respect the Post-Gazette revealed a squeam- 
ishness discernible in many newspapers, for few 
papers identified Mr. Sokolsky with his news- 
paper column. This may have been due to two 
rather curious unwritten newspaper laws: first, 
that a newspaper seldom mentions another 
newspaper in an embarrassing editorial connec- 
tion, and, second, that a journalist as a news- 
paper man is not “news.” 

Frankly, we don’t know whether Republic 
Steel’s attempt to influence the Alabama press 
was successful or not. We don’t think anyone 
does. The New York Post, ready to believe the 
worst, apparently thinks that it was. At least, 
this is what it said last month: 



The Birmingham Age-Herald, on the other 
hand, seems just as certain that Republic’s ef- 
forts were futile. Here is what the Age-Herald 


The Age-Herald buttressed this headline by 
quoting from the letter of W. H. Oldham, in 
which the district manager for Republic Steel 
declared that his call upon Victor H. Hanson, 
editor of the Age-Herald, had not done “any 
good.” The New York Post did not quote this 
letter, but it did quote another by Kenneth D. 
Mann, another official of a Republic subsidiary, 
which declared: “I have been successful, I be- 
lieve, in changing their [the Birmingham Post's ] 
editorial policy to one more favorable to us.” 
Naturally, there was no mention of Mr. Mann’s 
assertion in the Age-Herald . 1 

As long as we are on the sub- 
Headlines ject of newspaper headlines, we 
should like to comment on sev- 
eral that appeared in the papers about the 
Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Ohio, and 
Idaho last month. It has often been claimed by 
critics of the American press that newspapers 
are likely to put highly colored headlines on 
even the most unbiased stories; and, if some of 
the heads that we saw last month are repre- 
sentative, that is all too painfully true. In the 
New Deal papers, the primaries were New Deal 
victories; in the anti-New Deal papers, they 
were calamitous defeats. The Communists’ Da ily 
Worker, more New Deal than even the Presi- 
dent himself, announced: 



1 Editor’s Note: A letter from Hill and Knowlton, 
protesting that we have misrepresented its activities in 
behalf of Republic Steel, was received by the Institute 
shortly before this volume went to press. Hill and Knowl- 
ton’s protest is based primarily upon an interpretation 
of testimony before the LaFollette committee that dif- 
fers sharply from ours. We did make one error— and 
we acknowledge it herewith. We should not have indi- 
cated that Hill and Knowlton helped to organize “civic 
groups.” Actually, it was the National Association of 
Manufacturers which helped to form them. Hill and 
Knowlton, so far as can be discovered, took no part in 

this activity, even though it would have been quite ethi- 
cal for the firm to have done so. 

We have offered to print excerpts from Hill and 
Knowl ton’s letter. The firm particularly resents our in- 
terpretation of testimony by T. M. Girdler, S. Russell 
Gibboney, and others regarding photographs that were 
shown to members of the Senate Post Office Committee. 
We regard our interpretation as correct. If, however, 
we have done any injustice to Hill and Knowlton, even 
by implication, we sincerely wish to give the firm ade- 
quate opportunity to state its position. 



The anti-New Deal Chicago Daily Tribune: 


The pro-New Deal Chicago Daily Times: 

The anti-New Deal Los Angeles Times: 


The pro-New Deal New York Post: 


And the Washington Daily News, which, in 
keeping with the regular Scripps-Howard prac- 
tice, generally damns the New Deal with faint 




Like all Communist papers, the 
Nightmare Sunday Worker is class-angled 
from cover to cover. Even the 
comics are stuffed with propaganda. The wom- 
en’s page often reads like the Communist Mani- 
festo, and there are times when the casual reader 
can’t tell whether he is looking at the sports’ 
column or the editorial page. 

Last month, when the Hawaii Clipper plum- 
meted into the Pacific somewhere between 
Guam and Manila, the Sunday Worker saw the 
class-angle right away. The Worker hates Japan. 
Ever since the war in China began, it has out- 
done even the Hearst press at its worst in shout- 
ing, “Yellow Perill” So the Worker decided to 
see Nippon’s fine hand in the crash of the 
Hawaii Clipper. Over half of page one it spread 
the story that, according to “a rumor” in Wash- 
ington, the Clipper had been “shot down by 
Japanese.” In support of this fantastic tale, it 
cited the alleged fact that Japan was jealous of 
“America’s successful development of trans- 
pacific communication.” 

See? That proves it. 


All over the country during the 
Whispers past few months the story has 
been spreading by word of 
mouth: “Chesterfield gives money to Nazi Ger- 
many.” Ask the rumor-mongers how they know 

and they will solemnly assure you that “Walter 
Winchell told about it the other night in his 
radio broadcast.” Or else they will quote Boake 
Carter. “I heard it with my own ears,” they will 
sometimes add. 

The story is untrue. Neither Winchell nor 
Carter has ever said— over the air or any place 
else — that Chesterfield supports the N azi regime, 
and there is absolutely no reason to suppose 
that it does. Still, the rumor continues to grow. 
Last month, it had reached such proportions 
that Liggett and Myers decided that something 
must be done to scotch it, and done soon. On 
thousands of cigar store-fronts was plastered the 
notice that Chesterfield would pay $25,000 re- 
ward for information concerning the source of 
the rumors. 

Flow the whispering-campaign began is some- 
thing that nobody knows. Liggett and Myers 
would like to find out because this is not the 
first time, and it probably will not be the last, 
that Chesterfield has been the victim of rumor- 
mongers. About four years ago, for example, the 
whisperers had it that lepers were employed in 
the Liggett and Myers factory. 

Interested, the New York World-Telegram 
made an investigation of rumors, and it dis- 
covered that while many of them seem to arise 
spontaneously, others are deliberately created 
by high-pressure organizations, which have 
“Whispers for Sale.” Many of these organiza- 
tions were said to employ house-to-house can- 
vassers, whose job it was to intersperse their 
sales-talk with juicy bits of gossip that house- 
wives would be likely to repeat to their hus- 
bands, their neighbors, and friends. The cost of 
this service was $ 1 5 per canvasser per day. 

Other groups specialized in anti-labor whis- 
pers. An employer who desired to disrupt the 
union in his factory would hire their men to 
work side by side with his regular employes. 
After gaining their confidence, the professional 
rumor-mongers would pump the workers full 
of slanderous tales about the union officials. 

The whispering campaigns were fairly cheap, 
the World-Telegram said, and they were highly 


Many an irate book critic 
"Simply has complained about the 

Breathtaking" knack that some publishers 

seem to have for twisting 
even the most damning reviews into fulsome 
praise of their books. The critic will say: “The 



author's ignorance of his subject is simply 
breathtaking.” And two or three days later, the 
ads will quote him as having written: ‘‘Simply 

The American Legion Monthly did some- 
thing like that last month with the New York 
Herald-Tribune's editorial on Professor Wil- 
liam Gellermann’s study of the Legion. The 
Herald-Tribune's editorial denounced the Le- 
gion for its advocacy of the bonus, charged its 
officials with failure to protect civil liberties, 
and criticized the Legion posts which support 
vigilante groups. In the final paragraph, how- 
ever, it praised the Legion's rank and file. Sur- 
prising though it may seem, the American Le- 
gion Monthly cited this editorial to defend the 
Legion against Professor Gellermann’s attack. 
It simply disregarded the body of the editorial, 
and quoted the final paragraph. 

c Gn 

One interesting fact about Repre- 
Probe sentative Dies' committee on “un- 

American” activities is that although 
many individuals and groups have been labeled 
“fascist” or “communist,” at no time has any- 
thing like a clear-cut definition of fascism or 
communism been given. These are the “bad” 
names right now. If they can be pinned on the 
National Labor Relations Board, the Works 
Progress Administration, Labor Secretary Per- 
kins, Mr. or Mrs. Roosevelt, President Mac- 
Cracken, of Vassar, or anyone of a thousand 
individuals or groups and if the name calling 
gets enough publicity, those individuals and 
groups are automatically discredited. That is, 
they are automatically discredited among people 
who do not seek definitions of terms. If Martin 
Dies had been a theologian in the Middle Ages, 
he should have felt at home. Anybody he didn’t 
like he would have called a “heretic,” and that 
would have been that. 

Speaking of Name Calling, “purge” is vying 
with both “communist” and “fascist” as a “bad” 


1. It is easy to misinterpret some one’s views by 
quoting him in a certain way. Discuss the rules the 
group would adopt to insure fair play in quoting 
speakers and writers. 

2. In any acute situation on which we are likely to 
feel rather strongly and to take sides, we naturally 

name. Connotation: anyone from the President 
down who suggests that a political opponent be 
defeated is guilty of a “purge”; that is, guilty of 
being a dictator even though he practices the 
age old American political custom of campaign- 
ing for the defeat of opponents. “Purge” means 
“Hitler, Stalin, secret trials, executions.” Its use 
ties in nicely with the use of “fascist” and 
“communist” at the hearings before the Special 
House Committee to Investigate Un-American 
Activities in the United States. 


When a university confers an 
Mutual honorary degree upon a person, 

Approval that is a mark of the university’s 

approval of that individual; and 
the person’s acceptance of the degree indicates 
on his part approval of the university. Mutual 
approval thus is transferred by honorary de- 
grees, by government decorations, by honors, 
medals, and citations of various sorts. Here we 
have propaganda acts. 

A good recent example was the conferring 
upon Henry Ford on his seventy-fifth birthday 
of the award of the Grand Cross of the German 
Eagle, and his acceptance of same. Nazi ap- 
proval of Ford and reciprocal approval of the 
Nazis by Ford must have been embarrassing to 
newspapers that have been pressing against the 
Nazis. Some, like the New York Times, made 
little reference to the decoration, featured in- 
stead Ford’s love for the dear old McGuffey 

In Detroit itself the Free Press gave the story 
of the Ford birthday celebration, before which 
the Nazi decoration was presented, a five-col- 
umn spread on page one and more than six 
columns on page two. The story of the Nazi 
decoration got exactly two sentences at the end 
of all these columns. The Detroit News was not 
so shy. It featured a three-column photograph 
of the presentation of Hitler’s birthday gift to 
the automobile magnate. 


wish to have precise information. A typical situation 
of this kind is a labor dispute or a strike. Make a list 
of the questions which you would like your news- 
paper to answer in reporting a strike. Then read 
half a dozen local papers when the next important 
strike occurs and grade them according to your list. 



3. Another interesting experiment to test what 
one might term the “internal integrity” of a news- 
paper is to read a news account carefully and see if 
the headlines give, in your judgment, an accurate 
and concise statement of the most important points 
in the article. Compare the headlines of different 
papers. Do they emphasize different aspects of the 
same story? How widely do the stories diverge in 
their recountals of the same event? Have important 

questions about the event been left unanswered? Do 
you think it was possible to get these answers? 

4. It is easy to accuse others of Name Calling. We 
forget that most of us frequently use this propaganda 
device ourselves. Each member of the group should 
carry a notebook or stiff card with him and con- 
scientiously attempt to check himself every time he 
uses “good” or “bad” names by writing them down. 
Discuss and define these. Why do we use them? 

MAY 16 , 1938 


The Channels of Communication 

If any of the correspondents 
Nightshirt who accompanied the Presi- 
dent to Warm Springs, Geor- 
gia, on his vacation there, had actually been in 
bed at 12:45 o’clock in the morning of March 
31, it’s just within the realm of possibility that 
Marvin McIntyre, the President’s secretary, 
might have bothered to awaken them; and 
there would, then, have been some wisp of truth 
in the stories which several of them wrote about 
the President’s letter on the reorganization 

However . . . they were all just as wide-awake 
as Times Square on New Year’s Eve. 

No doubt, you remember the stories: It’s well 
after midnight. At Curtis Hall, near the Presi- 
dent’s ‘‘Little White House,” the correspond- 
ents have already turned in for the night. Sud- 
denly, in bursts Mr. McIntyre. He routs the 
correspondents from bed, thrusts mimeo- 
graphed (or typewritten?) copies of the Presi- 
dent's letter into their hands. Sleepy-eyed, the 
correspondents read: ‘‘I have no inclination to 
be a dictator. ...” 

The United Press told about it thus: 

WARM SPRINGS, March 31 (UP). -White House 
attaches routed newspaper correspondents . . . from 
bed early today . . . 

The New York Sun: 

WARM SPRINGS, March 31.— Attaches of the 
White House shook newspaper correspondents into 
wakefulness in their beds here at 1 A. M. today . . . 

The Associated Press: 

. . . Correspondents, who accompanied the Presi- 

dent to Warm Springs, were aroused . . . well after 
midnight . . . 

The correspondents were awakened by the 
President himself, announced Phelps Adams, 
of the Sun. The President had to get up from 
bed at midnight to release the letter, said an 
editorial in the New York Herald Tribune. A 
phrase was born: ‘‘The President’s nightshirt 

And now for the facts: 

Mr. McIntyre didn’t shake any of the corre- 
spondents into wakefulness. He didn’t have to, 
because, as we’ve already remarked, none of the 
correspondents was asleep. The President dis- 
cussed the advisability of releasing the letter at 
dinner with his aides; he reached his decision 
at 8:30 p.m. or thereabouts; was in bed at 10 
p.m.; and stayed in bed until the next morning. 
Grace Tulley, of the White House staff, and 
Mr. McIntyre were delayed in getting the letter 
ready for the press by first, the fact that Kress 
Hall, where the President’s offices were located, 
is two miles from the ‘‘Little White House,” 
and second, the lack of mimeograph machines, 
which made it necessary to prepare typewritten 
copies. Mr. McIntyre informed the correspond- 
ents of the forthcoming release between 10 and 
10:30. The correspondents were all gathered in 
Kress Hall by 12. 

In short, to quote Arthur Robb, of Editor 
and Publisher: ‘‘The so-called nightshirt party 
. . . was reported by some correspondents with 
somewhat more color than meticulous accuracy 
in detail. . . . The ‘nightshirt’ angle was a nat- 
ural, and like so many newspaper naturals, it 
had to be achieved by avoiding inconvenient 



Over UP teletypes last month 
Contrast clattered this story: 

Copyright, 1938, the United Press 

LONDON, April 24.— President Roosevelt’s new 
“pump-priming” program will save the world tem- 
porarily from almost complete economic collapse. Sir 
George Paish, wartime economic adviser to the Lloyd 
George Cabinet, said in an interview tonight. 

Until a fortnight ago, when Mr. Roosevelt began 
divulging his plans for new government spending, 
lending, and credit, Sir George said, “I feared a 
world economic breakdown late this spring. Now 
the outlook for at least a year has changed ...” 

Among the clients of the United Press is the 
Providence Journal, militant New Deal critic. 
Deftly, the Journal switched the quotes around, 
shifted the eleventh paragraph into the lead, 
made some other changes. Here is how it finally 
ran the story: 




LONDON, April 24 (UP) — A recovery policy 
based upon the expenditure of money can be suc- 
cessful in itself only as long as the money holds out, 
Sir George Paish, wartime economic adviser to the 
Lloyd George Cabinet, declared tonight. . . . 

On the Hearst papers it’s the in- 
Protest competent reporter, indeed, who 

cannot arouse public opinion to 
fever pitch at twenty minutes notice, and with 
only the help of the nearest telephone book. 
The reporter has merely to call ten or twelve 
people, who, he knows, are sure to agree with 
the current Hearst campaign; ask them please 
to agree for publication; and there he is. Within 
two hours, his paper will announce: PUB- 

If his editor wants to convert the clamor into 
action, the reporter’s job is somewhat more dif- 
ficult. He will have to attend meetings of the 
local American Legion, the Daughters of the 
American Revolution, and similar groups; and 
get their officials to introduce resolutions. He 
may even have to write the resolutions himself. 
He may also have to write bills, induce legisla- 

tors to propose them, lobby for their passage at 
the state capitol. 

In New York City, two months ago, reporters 
for the Journal and American succeeded be- 
yond their most fervid hopes in prodding the 
public to protest against the appointment of 
Simon Gerson, Communist newspaperman, as 
special assistant to Stanley Isaacs, president 
of the Borough of Manhattan. Even liberal 
groups, which almost invariably are opposed 
to Hearst policies and Hearst crusades, joined 
the clamor against Gerson. Even the New York 
Post, which has baited Hearst as energetically 
as Hearst baits the Communists. 

Last month, in Boston, Hearst reporters again 
were quivering with fear of the “red menace.” 
Unlike their New Y 7 ork colleagues, however, 
they found but few to quiver with them. Gran- 
ville Hicks, former editor of the Communist 
New Masses, had been asked to join the staff 
of Harvard College as fellow in American His- 
tory. In the city room of the Boston American 
reporters leaped to ’phones. Twenty members 
of the Grand Army of the Republic protested. 
The Watertown lodge of the Elks protested. 
Daniel J. Doherty, National Commander of 
the American Legion, protested. The American 
said that Robert S. Hillyer, Pulitzer Prize win- 
ner, had protested too; but Mr. Hillyer de- 
nied it. 

Undergraduates, bustling across the Harvard 
Yard on their way to class, were stopped by 
American reporters, and urged to sign petitions 
against Hicks. Few did, but the American nev- 
ertheless reported: STUDENTS REVOLT 
ON RED PROFESSOR. When even the Young 
Conservatives, the most right-wing student 
group at the university, announced their ap- 
proval of Hicks’ appointment, the American 
just gave up. 

One day last month in Troy, 
TaxCENTinels N. Y., students of Rensse- 
laer Polytechnic Institute, 
by wandering from shop to shop, from bank to 
bank, managed to collect 250,000 pennies in 
less than eight hours. This was half of the city’s 
normal supply; and by nightfall pennies were 
scarce in Troy, and business was badly hobbled. 
Grocers used postage stamps to make change; 
other business men were forced to adjust their 
odd-cent prices. 

To New York newspapermen, who dashed 


7 1 

over from Albany to cover the story, Robert G. 
Baumann, president of the Student Union, ex- 
plained that his purpose in organizing the 
penny-raid was to protest against “hidden 
taxes." He announced the formation of the 
TaxCENTinels “to help fight the growth of 
taxes, which now consume 25 cents out of every 
dollar spent by the average person . . . [by pay- 
ing] one-quarter of the price of all purchases 
in pennies in order to dramatize this situa- 
tion. ..." With their hoarded pennies, under- 
graduates at once proceeded to carry out this 
program, and Troy business men had another 
bad day. 

Commented Dr. William Otis Hotchkiss, pres- 
ident of Rensselaer: “A sure sign of spring " 

The stunt was less a sign of spring, however, 
than of the efficiency of the Carl Byoir organ- 
ization. Carl Byoir & Associates, Inc. is prob- 
ably the biggest, and certainly the most active 
public relations organization in the country. 
Among its clients are the Republic of China, 
the city of Miami, the Aluminum Company of 
America, the Freeport Sulphur Company. 

While Troy shopkeepers were frantically 
scratching around for pennies, John Dougherty, 
of the Carl Byoir organization, sat in his room 
at the Hendrick Hudson Hotel, banging out 
newspaper releases and feature stories about 
their plight. Cornering him there, George L. 
Cassidy, of the New York Post asked Mr. Dough- 
erty what he was doing so far away from home, 
and how come he was helping to publicize the 
TaxCENTinels. Mr. Dougherty explained: he 
was in the neighborhood, and decided to call 
on Mr. Baumann; talking about the Veterans 
of Foreign Wars, they happened to evolve the 
idea of the penny-raid; since he was partly re- 
sponsible for the idea, he thought it only right 
that he do his share in carrying it out. 

Mr. Dougherty was less than frank. Actually, 
the idea was evolved right in his office as part 
of the campaign against discriminatory chain 
store legislation, which Carl Byoir Sc Associates 
has undertaken for some of its clients. Public 
sentiment against the chain stores is so great 
that it would probably be worse than futile to 
attack such legislation directly. On the other 
hand, anti-chain store measures are generally 
tax measures, designed to increase the chain 
store’s overhead, and, thereby, make it difficult, 
if not impossible, for it to undersell the in- 
dependent dealer. If the public could be made 
to feel that all taxes which raise prices are un- 

desirable, it might be less inclined to levy spe- 
cial taxes against the chain stores — and thus 
remove die greatest menace to their continued 

That is the strategy of the Carl Byoir cam- 
paign; and this is what brought John Dough- 
erty to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At 
present, Byoir is planning another organization 
against “hidden taxes." It will not be tempo- 
rary, as was the TaxCENTinels, but perma- 
nent; not local, but nation-wide. It will attempt 
to gain the support of all consumers. 

And it will arise “spontaneously." 

Atop its editorial page the 
Fair Enough ? Flew York World-Telegram 

carries the Scripps-Howard— 
motto: “Give Light, and the People Will Find 
Their Own Way." At the bottom of the page 
generally runs columnist Raymond Clapper’s 
daily Washington dispatch. One day last 
month, snapping at critics of the reorganiza- 
tion bill, Mr. Clapper asked: “Why All the 
Shouting?" Among the critics of the bill was 
the World-Telegram. Motto to the contrary, the 
World-Telegram did not print Mr. Clapper’s 
dispatch that day. 

Nor did the World-Telegram print West- 
brook Pegler’s column on the Spanish civil war. 
Mr. Pegler had written: “I cannot see why the 
working-class Catholics are expected to be in- 
dignant against the government side in Spain. 

I think their indignation should be directed 
against those members of the Spanish clergy 
and the well born Spaniards of the Catholic 
faith who neglected a duty that was placed 
upon them. To them, originally, rather than 
to the mobs which raged in the early days of 
the war, I would charge the blame for the 
slaughter of priests and nuns." Among the pa- 
pers which buy Mr. Pegler’s column the World- 
Telegram was hardly alone in feeling that it 
would not be politic to print this particular 
article. The New Republic (May 11, 1938) 
printed this article under the caption “Fair 
Enough" — the title of Mr. Pegler’s syndicated 

Our faith in advertising was un- 
Advts. dermined again last month. Not 

that we question the sincerity of 
those who lend their names to advertised prod- 
ucts; but occasionally we come across some- 



thing in the magazines that just makes us 

It was perplexing to read the interview with 
Marion Talley in the New York Herald Tri- 
bune, in which the famous opera star declared 
that she had taken off so much weight by going 
for long walks around Manhattan Island. We 
had always understood that Ry-Krisp was re- 


1. Is enforcement of political party loyalty, with 
threat of reprisals, a form of propaganda? Does it 
limit freedom of speech and assembly of United 
States citizens? 

2. Do Government officials who are party to this 
enforcement abuse their rights? Does the example of 
such enforcement tend to intimidate heads of busi- 
nesses dependent in one form or another upon 
Government cooperation? Do non-governmental 
organizations (e.g., schools and colleges, pressure 
groups, patriotic societies, professional and business 
associations, industries) enforce similar loyalty in 
the areas of their greatest interests? 

3. Is secrecy vital in the early stages of arriving at 
international agreements? Can publicity harm un- 

Nor can we understand how it happens that 
Dolores Del Rio, the movie star, has given 
testimonials both to Camels and to Lucky 

And who really know tobacco best, the auc- 
tioneers, buyers, and warehousemen, who smoke 
Luckies, or the tobacco planters who smoke 


finished negotiations? In this respect what are the 
differences between democratic and dictatorial gov- 
ernments in obligations toward the people? 

4. Would public ownership of newspapers be any 
more dangerous than public ownership of the post- 
office? Discuss the implications and ramifications of 
this question. 

5. Discuss the obligations of newspaper publishers 
when they are guaranteed freedom of the press. Be 

6. How much are you influenced by the advertis- 
ing statements of manufacturers? Do many manu- 
facturers deliberately try to mislead the public? How 
can people inform themselves better about their 

JUNE 16 , 1938 


The Channels of Communication 

w The Jersey City Journal likes 

* to refer to Congressman Jerry 

O’Connell as “dear Jerry.” Captions tell how 
" ‘Dear Jerry’ Meets John Law.” Headlines 
sneer that “Scared ‘Dear Jerry’ Later Turns 
‘Brave.’ ” The Journal demands that Mr. 
O’Connell stay in Washington and mind his 
own business. Its political columnist, D. John 
Rickard, calls him “the whoopee-doop congress- 
man from the reed regions.” 

The Journal is anything but friendly toward 
“whoopee-doop congressmen.” Nor does it care 
much for “nit-wit professors from hunky-dunk 
colleges,” who clamor for “so-called ‘freedom 
of speech.’ ” Mr. Rickard likens them, in his 
more restrained moments, to animals “frothing 
with hydrophobia.” Mr. Rickard complains: 
“These mad and vicious creatures snarl and 
growl and strive to bite us.” 

Back in the days when Mayor Frank Hague 
was first consolidating his power, the Journal 
could be just as critical of him as the rest of the 
nation’s press is now. It charged him with steal- 
ing city funds. It asked: “How did Hague get 
his money? Where did he get it? How can he 
buy a palace at Deal on $ 8,000 a year?” But 
Hague, like every dictator, couldn’t stand for 
opposition from the press. He decided to kick 
the Journal into subservience. He announced 
that any city or county employee who read the 
Journal would be dismissed at once. Police and 
firemen were ordered to distribute from door 
to door leaflets denouncing the Journal as “self- 
ish and dishonest.” They were also ordered to 
subscribe to an opposition paper, more friendly 
to Hague, and to obtain other subscriptions. 

Advertisers were asked to boycott the Jour- 
nal. Most of them did. One movie exhibitor 



who refused was suddenly overwhelmed by po- 
lice, fire, health, and building inspectors. They 
nailed dozens of violation notices on his thea- 
tre, and finally told him to close it. 

Nowadays, the lournal says that Mayor Frank 
Hague is “the red-blooded leader of red-blooded 
Americans,” that “his whole political career is 
built upon public confidence in his unyielding 
opposition to every lawless element/' Hague is 
the law in Jersey City. And that’s all right as far 
as the lournal is concerned. 

Hague seems to keep the support of the Jer- 
sey City press just as he keeps his political ma- 
chine together — by patronage. Mr. Rickard, 
for example, has profited greatly from his loy- 
alty to Hague. Several of his relatives are on the 
Jersey City payroll. His wife, mother of five 
children, recently was appointed “confidential 
investigator” for Hudson County judges. Her 
salary will be $3,500 a year. And Mr. Rickard, 
himself, is doing Frank Hague’s publicity in his 
spare time. 

It’s commonplace in Jersey City for news- 
papermen to get their wives and relatives on 
the city payroll; and some newspapermen, in 
fact, are even on the payroll themselves. As far 
back as 1929, the Case Legislative Committee 
discovered that one reporter was drawing pay 
from the city as “utility man,” while another 
was getting his as “a laborer.” A managing edi- 
tor doubles as state librarian at $5,000 a year. 
According to David G. Wittels, of the New York 
Post , reporters who cover the courts are occa- 
sionally given receiverships to keep them happy. 

Although President Roosevelt has said that 
Hague is merely a local issue, the Hague re- 
gime has, nevertheless, become page-one news 
throughout the country and the problem of 
keeping the press under control has grown more 
troublesome. Philadelphia and New York news- 
papers circulate in Jersey City, and their sales are 
mounting steadily. Unfortunately for Hague, it 
seems impossible for him to intimidate them as 
he did the local papers. 

Not that he doesn’t try. Charles Zerner, the 
Jersey City reporter for the New York Times, is 
barred from many city offices. His automobile 
has been tampered with. One night a squad of 
men attempted to break into his apartment. 
Several months ago, Police Chief Harry Walsh 
called on the editors of his paper to demand 
that he be fired. 

Similarly, the New York Post last month dis- 
covered that policemen had told more than 

two hundred Jersey City newsdealers to re- 
move the paper from their stands. The Post 
immediately went into Federal Court to ask for 
an injunction. “I’m not going to make any 
speeches about the freedom of the press, al- 
though that issue is clearly involved here,” said 
Federal Judge William Clark, in granting the 

Quotes ^ now seems t ^ iat despite the best 
efforts of the Columbia Press Serv- 
ice, which supplies newspapers with special fea- 
ture stories from Washington, D. C., the Seattle 
Star's four-point recovery program will find it 
necessary to get along without the support of 
Harold G. Moulton, head of the Brookings In- 
stitution. Nor can it count on much help — in 
the near future, at least — from Arthur Capper, 
Gerald P. Nye, Lewis B. Schwellenbach, and 
Homer Bone. Some of the Senators, in fact, 
don’t feel the least bit sympathetic toward 
either the Star or its program these days. As for 
the Columbia Press Service, it had better watch 
its step or Senator Schwellenbach will make an- 
other speech. 

Nobody can accuse the Columbia Press Serv- 
ice of not having tried. No sooner had the Star 
announced, “Business Dying; Here’s the Way 
to Save It,” when back came the Columbia Press 
Service with the report that Dr. Moulton and 
the four Senators were in favor of its plan. A 
new tax law, in which it would be provided 
that no changes might be made during the next 
five years; abandonment of the New Deal’s 
power development program; stabilization of 
the dollar; amendment of the Wagner Act — 
these were the points of the Star's recovery plan. 
The Columbia Press Service reported, and the 
Star duly printed that Dr. Moulton had said of 
them: “99 per cent of the American people still 
want a nation free of the hardship of totali- 
tarianism,” and I, therefore, “congratulate the 
Star on its program.” Senator Nye was quoted: 
“I know of no better way to bring this [domestic 
and industrial peace] about than to adopt the 
principle outlined in the Seattle Star." The 
others were said to have been similarly im- 

Unfortunately, the Columbia Press Service 
had never bothered to interview either Dr. 
Moulton or the four Senators; and, when the 
latter were shown the Star's glowing story, they 
nearlv blew up. Senators Nye and Capper in- 



formed Senator Schwellenbach that so far as 
they knew they had never read the four-point 
program; and Senator Schwellenbach informed 
the Senate: “I not only never heard of the Star’s 
four-point program, but I never heard of the 
Seattle Star ” 

And the Senator asserted that it seemed as if 
“. . . the newspaper profession of this country 
has reached its lowest ebb.” 

Immediately, Prescott Dennett, head of the 
Columbia Press Service, apologized profusely. 
“A new employee” was responsible for the 
phoney quotes, he said. The Seattle Star , he 
said, was entirely blameless: It had printed the 
story in good faith. 

q The nation’s radio broadcasters are 

suffering at present from an excep- 
tionally bad case of nerves. In Washington 
things have been going rather badly for them. 
Government officials and members of Congress 
on several occasions have taken pot-shots at 
some of the programs that now fill the ether. All 
sorts of bills to investigate, tax, and regulate the 
industry have been discussed. 

If public opinion were to sour on the indus- 
try, some of these bills might pass. So the na- 
tion’s broadcasters have been taking steps, of 
late, to keep on the public’s good side. When, 
for example, the clamor arose over Mae West’s 
“Garden of Eden” program, so jittery did 
N.B.C. officials become that Edward L. Ber- 
nays was called in and hired as public relations 

Similarly, the National Association of Broad- 
casters has just taken on three new publicity 
men: Edward M. Kirby, to advise on public 
relations; Paul F. Peter, for research and sta- 
tistics; and Joseph L. Miller, for straight pub- 
licity, with special emphasis on labor. 

In addition, the N.A.B. has completely re- 
vamped its constitution. Heretofore, the presi- 
dency of the N.A.B. has been an honorary 
post, filled by a member of the association, who 
served only part-time, and without pay. Under 
the new set-up, the president is given far greater 
powers, will serve full-time, and will receive 
$25,000 annually. 

Neville Miller, former Mayor of Louisville, 
Kentucky, is expected to receive the appoint- 
ment. As “czar” of the broadcasting industry, 
he will be asked to put its house in order, and 

to embark upon what the magazine Broadcast- 
ing calls “an open fight against the enemies of 

. , Once Dave Beck was Seattle’s bo- 


geyman. The Seattle Post-Intelli- 
gencer seldom missed an opportunity to sputter 
its disapproval of him; and sometimes, as when 
he ordered his burly teamsters onto the picket 
line, which the American Newspaper Guild had 
thrown about the Post-Intelligencer building, 
it almost choked with rage. But things are dif- 
ferent now. Today, as West Coast leader of the 
American Federation of Labor, Beck is fighting 
to save the business men of Seattle from “Harry 
Bridges, the C. I.O., and revolution.” And if 
the Guild thinks less of him since it has left 
the A. F. of L. to join the C. I. O., the Post- 
Intelligencer thinks more, lots more. 

So the Post-lntellvencer was anything but 
pleased by Westbro Pegler’s recent series on 
Dave Beck and the \v» Coast labor movement. 
One column, “Fascism in America,” in which 
Mr. Pegler told how Beck cooperates with busi- 
ness at the expense of the consumer and de- 
scribed his manipulations in the beer industry, 
was omitted entirely. Another, “Boss Beck,” was 
heavily blue-pencilled. Apparently the Post- 
Intelligencer didn’t think its readers should 
know about Beck’s elegant hotel suite, his sal- 
ary— $12,500 a year and expenses — his boast 
that “I have operated every brewery up here 
for three years.” Mr. Pegler’s comparison be- 
tween Dave Beck’s domination of Seattle busi- 
ness and Capone’s old rackets also was deleted, 
as were his references to Beck’s “arm-and-leg 
breaking.” To quote Walter Winchell, Hearst 
columnist, whose copy has likewise been cut, of 
late: “The boss lets his paragrapher jot down 
anything that comes into his noodle. The boss 
can always throw the column away. Hey, West- 


America’s bias contest is over; and 
Blos to A. H. McDonald, of Tenafly, 
N. J., has gone the first prize of $25. Mr. Mc- 
Donald clipped from the Bergen (N. J.) Eve- 
ning Record an involved and rather impas- 
sioned letter, reprinted in America for April 23, 
which expressed the view that Jesus Christ was 
probably the illegitimate son of Mary by some 
Roman soldier. It was, the judges felt, by far 



the most odious example of anti-Catholic bias 
that has recently appeared in the American 

America's purpose in holding the contest was 
to drive home to its readers the extent of anti- 
Catholic propaganda in the press; and this it 
did, at least in the mind of the Rev. John A. 
Toomey, S. J., associate editor. According to 
Father Toomey the contest drove home another 
phenomenon: the way in which the American 
press, “from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from 
the Gulf to the Canadian border, is falsifying 
the situation in Spain.” 

To remedy this, America wants Catholic or- 
ganizations to combine their forces and bear 
down on newspapers and magazines to prevent 
the publication of anti-Catholic or pro-Loyalist 
articles. In New York City the press committees 
of eighteen Catholic societies have already, to 
quote Father Toomey, “effected a united Cath- 
olic front in the press and magazine field,” and 
similar movements are underway elsewhere. 
Such consolidation, says Father Toomey, will 
increase the power of Catholics to influence the 
press because editors don’t mind “having little 
dogs snap at their heels,” but very few would 
like to have “lions getting cross with them.” 

"Facts of Life" ° f New York ’ s eight 

major newspapers, two 

— J. David Stern’s Evening Post and J. M. Pat- 
terson’s Daily News — are boisterously pro-New 
Deal. The others range from approval of the 
President’s milder policies to apoplectic con- 
demnation of his every word. The New Deal 
papers battle for New Deal measures with their 
news as well as with their editorial columns. 
And make no bones about it. At the same time, 
however, they charge that other newspapers are 
equally biased in their presentation of the news, 
if not more so— though, of course, in the oppo- 
site direction. 

On several occasions both the Post and the 
Daily News have attempted to prove their 
charge of prejudice by getting down to cases. 
The Daily News chortles at the New York 
Times for putting G. O. P. condemnation of 
increased expenditures for W. P. A. on page 
one, while reserving the last page in the paper 
for Cleveland’s relief breakdown. “Wishful 
thinking,” laughs the News. Again, it calls on 

the World-Telegram to stop playing up the 
Gerson affair, referring to Simon W. Gerson as 
“New York’s one-man red menace.” The World- 
Telegram is boring its readers to death, says the 
News. What is worse, it’s giving those Com- 
munists too much publicity. 

And, while the Daily Nexus barks playfully at 
the rest of the New York press, the Post snaps 
at their heels and bites. One day last month, it 
exploded: “Add Facts of Life — News Unfit to 
Print.” It charged the New York Times , which 
prides itself on its complete impartiality in its 
news columns, with burying the news of Su- 
preme Court decisions in favor of the New 
Deal, while overplaying the unfavorable ver- 
dicts. Said the Post: What happened in the 
Court on May 23 was handled by the Times as 
though it “were playing hide-the-slipper.” The 
Court’s refus; 1 to permit three South Carolina 
utility compa - to appeal from a lower court 
decision was nowhere in the paper; neither was 
mention of Chief Justice Hughes’ tart question- 
ing of counsel for Republic Steel. Three deci- 
sions in favor of the National Labor Relations 
Board were hidden in the fifth paragraph of a 
story on page six; Hughes’ rebuke of the Third 
Circuit Court of Appeals was pushed back into 
page 33- 

“Would it have been indelicate to let the 
readers of the Times know what really hap- 
pened?” asked the Post. 

Next day the Post erupted again with “The 
Facts of Life for Newspaper Readers: No. 3.” 
A press release had been sent out by Fortune , 
the magazine of business, on its quarterly poll 
of public opinion, which had shown that Presi- 
dent Roosevelt’s popularity was nearly as great 
as ever. Coupled with this was an editorial, in 
which Fortune denounced business for its op- 
position to social reform. 

The Herald Tribune, despite its thoroughgo- 
ing disapproval of the President, ran the results 
of the poll, although it made no mention of the 
editorial. The World-Telegram ran both the 
editorial and the poll. The story was ignored, 
however, by the Journal and American , the 
Sun , and the New York Times . This caused the 
Post to declare: 

When an important story from a major source is 
omitted and readers are kept in ignorance of a sig- 
nificant pro-Roosevelt poll, are kept in the dark 
about our leading business magazine's rebuke to 
business, it is time for a checkup. 



have been careful to avoid the controversial, 
fearing to antagonize their fellow producers, 
the Hays office, State censors, political, civic, 
and religious groups, and foreign nations. Pic- 
tures that deal with sociological themes have 
been made before, of course, but seldom have 
there been pictures to provoke such conflict. 

Only last month, Samuel Goldwyn an- 
nounced that he was abandoning his plan to 
produce The Exiles , an original story by Vera 
Caspary and George Sklar, which tells of the 
flight of Jewish artists, scientists, and writers to 
America, to escape persecution in their native 
Germany. Other pro ~s had brought pres- 
sure to bear on Mr. Goldwyn; the Hays office 
had refused to approve the script unless it was 
drastically revised; and there had been rumors 
that Germany would not only ban the picture 
itself, but would seek to induce other nations 
to ban it, too. 

Paths of Glory , Humphrey Cobb’s best-sell- 
ing novel of the French general who slaugh- 
tered his own troops, has been shunted around 
the Paramount office for nearly two years. Para- 
mount at one time had ambitious plans for its 
production; but France protested, and so the 
plans were shelved. 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer owns the motion pic- 
ture rights to Franz WerfePs The Forty Days 
of Musa Dagh, an exciting and dramatic story 
of the slaughter of embattled Armenian vil- 
lagers during the World War. In the face of 
protests by the French and Turkish govern- 
ments, however, Metro has been rather hesitant 
to make it. 

Metro also owns It Can't Happen Here, by 
Sinclair Lewis. It has never produced it because 
of pressure from the Hays office, which also 
caused the abandonment of plans to produce 
Karl Kapek’s satire on the machine age, R. U. 
R., and Sergei Eisenstein’s version of Theodore 
Dreiser’s American Tragedy . 

Blockade, whatever its artistic merits, is, 
therefore, an unusual picture — Hollywood’s 
first excursion into the field of political and re- 
ligious controversy. Whether other producers 
will follow Mr. Wanger’s lead is said to depend 
upon Blockade's financial success. Metro-Gold- 
wyn-Mayer is holding up the production of 
Idiot's Delight to see whether Blockade does 
well at the box-office, for, says Variety, although 
the stories “bear no similarity in plot, they do 
in theme, and if Blockade can successfully clear 
the obstacles of international distribution, then 

Idiot's Delight, more potently charged with per- 
sonalities, is likely to touch satisfactory income 

Similarly, Mr. Wanger has temporarily post- 
poned the shooting of Vincent Sheean’s Per- 
sonal History, which has been adapted for the 
movies by John Howard Lawson and Budd 
Schulberg. United Artists, the company which 
distributes Mr. Wanger’s productions, has in- 
duced him to wait for the reaction to Blockade 


Stunt One ^ ne ^ aSt mont *h eight once 
opulent motion picture stars, now 
forced to work as extras for Selznick-Interna- 
tional, petitioned Governor Merriam, of Cali- 
fornia, to protect future stars from throwing 
away their money as they had. They suggested 
that 10 per cent of every movie player’s salary 
be held for him by the State, to safeguard 
against the rainy day that would come when 
his popularity had begun to decline. 

Hollywood correspondents pounced upon 
the story; and newspapers played it big, from 
coast to coast — with pictures, interviews, and 
autobiographies. Editorial writers gurgled with 
pity or seethed with indignation over the 
plight of the former stars, and Governor Mer- 
riam announced, quite solemnly, that he would 
give the suggestion his most serious considera- 

All of which must have greatly pleased Rus- 
sell Birdwell, who is the director of publicity 
for Selznick-International. It was he who 
thought up the whole idea. The ex-movie stars, 
who petitioned the Governor, were just playing 
another part, one that Mr. Birdwell’s staff had 
written for them. 


About fifteen years ago Riga 
was probably our most fertile 
source of news about the Soviet Union, more 
fertile, by far, than even Moscow, itself. The 
capital of Latvia was packed with refugees; and 
more kept pouring in, bringing with them hair- 
raising tales of the Soviet terror — of murder, 
arson, civil war, and banditry. So American 
newspapers and press associations kept crack 
men at Riga; and, daily, American newspaper 
readers gaped with horror at the headlines and 
wondered how such things could be. 

After the dispatches from Riga had told of 




1. It is generally recognized among informed 
people that the theories of Father Coughlin, Huey 
Long, and Dr. Townsend indicate an ignorance or 
lack of recognition of many economic facts and laws. 
Yet these men were successful public speakers and 
had immense followings. Similarly, Hitler's economic 
and racial theories are far removed from those gen- 
erally accepted by thoughtful students of the sub- 
jects. Discuss the following questions and ask a 
member of the group to write a brief report of the 
discussion: Does a leader need to be informed? How 
much ignorance will the public stand? Do crowds 
prefer promises to facts? What do we mean when we 
say that democracy depends upon education? 

2. Attend a pc 4 -^ meeting or listen to a radio 
discussion. Follow are opinions and arguments car- 
fully. Immediately afterwards go off by yourself and 
consider these questions: What precisely is the con- 
flict of interest or faith involved in the disagreement? 
Of what is each side afraid? How much is real and 

how much is imagined danger? Note your answers. 
Discuss them at your next group meeting. Then 
inject into the discussion a clear definition of the 
conflicting dangers. Observe the results. 

3. Attend a meeting or listen to a speech over the 
radio. Ask another member of the group not to hear 
it but to read it. Discuss your interpretations of the 
speech. This may reveal much about innuendo. 

4. Make a survey of race attitudes among the 
members of your group. Then read Bruno Lasker’s 
Race Attitudes in Children (New York: Henry Holt 
and Co., 1929). How many of the members of the 
group are against or fearful of Negroes, Japanese, 
Germans, Jews, Catholics? How many think the white 
race is superior in every way? Discuss the origin of 
these attitudes giving attention to one’s background, 
geographical location, schooling, reading, religious 
beliefs, etc. How can we develop a more tolerant atti- 
tude toward people of different race, religion, politi- 
cal and economic beliefs? 

JULY 16, 1938 


The Channels of Communication 

n It may very well be true, as 

Still-Born TA7 , TAr , . 

Walter Wanger has so earnestly 

declared, that Blockade, his sermon against the 
slaughter of non-combatants in the Spanish 
civil war, never was intended as pro-Loyalist 
propaganda; but those in this country who 
sympathize either with the Loyalists or with 
the Insurgents will hardly be convinced of that. 
Mr. Wanger approached his theme as gingerly 
as though it threatened suddenly to explode in 
his face; and there is nothing in the picture 
itself to identify the locale or the opposing 
armies. Day after day, however, the headlines 
tell of the bombing of Loyalist cities, the block- 
ade of Loyalist ports. And they are identifica- 
tion enough. 

Not since The Birth of a Nation has any pic- 
ture created so much controversy as Blockade. 
No sooner did it open than Joseph Lamb, 
deputy of the New York Council, Knights of 
Columbus, denounced the movie as “subtle 
pro-Loyalist propaganda.” The Board of Direc- 
tors of the K. of C., meeting in New Haven, 
called it “historically false and intellectually 

dishonest.” The Catholic News predicted that 
it would “stir up prejudice, bad feeling, and 
contention.” The Brooklyn Tablet demanded: 
“Blockade ‘Blockade’!” 

Naturally, Loyalist sympathizers have de- 
fended the picture as vigorously as partisans of 
General Franco have denounced it. The Na- 
tion, the New Masses, the American Guardian, 
and other liberal and left-wing publications 
have urged their readers to crown Blockade 
with “the laurel that Hollywood and Will Hays 
recognize: box-office success.” A similar plea 
has been made by the Associated Film Audi- 
ences. In England, where Blockade shattered 
the house record at the London Pavilion, leaf- 
lets praising the movie have been distributed 
by the Spanish Defendents’ Aid Committee. In 
the autumn, when the picture gets its general 
British release, the Trades Union Council 
plans to call upon its millions of members to 
see it. 

According to reports, Hollywood is follow- 
ing the controversy over Blockade with more 
than usual interest. Heretofore, the producers 


have been careful to avoid the controversial, 
fearing to antagonize their fellow producers, 
the Hays office, State censors, political, civic, 
and religious groups, and foreign nations. Pic- 
tures that deal with sociological themes have 
been made before, of course, but seldom have 
there been pictures to provoke such conflict. 

Only last month, Samuel Goldwyn an- 
nounced that he was abandoning his plan to 
produce The Exiles, an original story by Vera 
Caspary and George Sklar, which tells of the 
flight of Jewish artists, scientists, and writers to 
America, to escape persecution in their native 
Germany. Other producers had brought pres- 
sure to bear on Mr. Goldwyn; the Hays office 
had refused to app. e the script unless it was 
drastically revised; and there had been rumors 
that Germany would not only ban the picture 
itself, but uld seek to induce other nations 
to ban it, t . 

Paths oj Mory, Humphrey Cobb’s best-sell- 
ing novel of the French general who slaugh- 
tered his own troops, has been shunted around 
the Paramount office for nearly two years. Para- 
mount at one time had ambitious plans for its 
production; but France protested, and so the 
plans were shelved. 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer owns the motion pic- 
ture rights to Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days 
oj Musa Dagh, an exciting and dramatic story 
of the slaughter of embattled Armenian vil- 
lagers during the World War. In the face of 
protests by the French and Turkish govern- 
ments, however, Metro has been rather hesitant 
to make it. 

Metro also owns It Can't Happen Here, by 
Sinclair Lewis. It has never produced it because 
of pressure from the Hays office, which also 
caused the abandonment of plans to produce 
Karl Kapek’s satire on the machine age, R. U. 
R., and Sergei Eisenstein’s version of Theodore 
Dreiser’s A merican Tragedy. 

Blockade, whatever its artistic merits, is, 
therefore, an unusual picture — Hollywood’s 
first excursion into the field of political and re- 
ligious controversy. Whether other producers 
will follow Mr. Wanger’s lead is said to depend 
upon Blockade's financial success. Metro-Gold- 
wyn-Mayer is holding up the production of 
Idiot's Delight to see whether Blockade does 
well at the box-office, for, says Variety , although 
the stories “bear no similarity in plot, they do 
in theme, and if Blockade can successfully clear 
the obstacles of international distribution, then 


Idiot's Delight, more potently charged with per- 
sonalities, is likely to touch satisfactory income 

Similarly, Mr. Wanger has temporarily post- 
poned the shooting of Vincent Sheean’s Per- 
sonal History, which has been adapted for the 
movies by John Howard Lawson and Budd 
Schulberg. United Artists, the company which 
distributes Mr. Wanger’s productions, has in- 
duced him to wait for the reaction to Blockade 


Stunt One ^ ne * ast mont k> eight once 
opulent motion picture stars, now 
forced to work as extras for Selznick-Interna- 
tional, petitioned Governor Merriam, of Cali- 
fornia, to protect future stars from throwing 
away their money as they had. They suggested 
that 10 per cent of every movie player’s salary 
be held for him by the State, to safeguard 
against the rainy day that would come when 
his popularity had begun to decline. 

Hollywood correspondents pounced upon 
the story; and newspapers played it big, from 
coast to coast — with pictures, interviews, and 
autobiographies. Editorial writers gurgled with 
pity or seethed with indignation over the 
plight of the former stars, and Governor Mer- 
riam announced, quite solemnly, that he would 
give the suggestion his most serious considera- 

All of which must have greatly pleased Rus- 
sell Birdwell, who is the director of publicity 
for Selznick-International. It was he who 
thought up the whole idea. The ex-movie stars, 
who petitioned the Governor, were just playing 
another part, one that Mr. Birdwell’s staff had 
written for them. 

Lie- factory 

About fifteen years ago Riga 
was probably our most fertile 
source of news about the Soviet Union, more 
fertile, by far, than even Moscow, itself. The 
capital of Latvia was packed with refugees; and 
more kept pouring in, bringing with them hair- 
raising tales of the Soviet terror — of murder, 
arson, civil war, and banditry. So American 
newspapers and press associations kept crack 
men at Riga; and, daily, American newspaper 
readers gaped with horror at the headlines and 
wondered how such things could be. 

After the dispatches from Riga had told of 



the collapse of the Soviet dictatorship, the de- 
struction of Moscow, and the victory of the 
White Armies for the sixth or seventh time, 
however, American newspaper editors began 
to suspect that Riga, while undoubtedly their 
most prolific source of Soviet news, was prob- 
ably not their most reliable. They began to call 
it ‘"the Riga lie-factory,” and they ordered their 
correspondents to Moscow. 

Of all the great news-gathering agencies, only 
two — The Times, of London, and the Chicago 
Tribune-N. Y. News Syndicate Co., Inc. — still 
keep top-notch me. at Riga, still rely upon it 
for their Soviet news. Last month, the Chicago 
Tribune correspondent, Donald Day, had this 
story to re rt: Workers in the Josef Stalin 
Automobfl Works had risen in revolt against 
the Soviet regime; after demolishing the ma- 
chines, and setting the factory afire, they had 
erected barricades and fought a pitched battle 
with members of the Moscow Fire Department 
and the G. P. U.; an undetermined number had 
been killed, and 3,000 were under arrest. 

As far as the Institute has been able to de- 
termine, few American news editors bothered 
to ask their Moscow correspondents to check 
Mr. Day’s story. One, who did, received the 
laconic reply: “Huh?” 

I . While the National Education As- 

y sociation was meeting in New York 

last month. Professor William Gellermann’s 
thesis, The American Legion as Educator , was 
published by the Bureau of Publications, 
Teachers College, Columbia University. It was 
immediately charged that some one at Teach- 
ers College wanted to embarrass the N. E. A. by 
giving newspaper readers the impression that 
the N. E. A. was in some way responsible for 
Professor Gellermann’s study. On the contrary, 
the New York Times’ page-one story about the 
dissertation appeared on the opening day of 
the educators’ convention simply because the 
books went on sale that day. Teachers College 
had expected that the books would be ready 
for sale as early as May 15; but delays at the 
bindery made delivery coincide with the open- 
ing of the convention. The coincidence was not 
premeditated; it was sheer accident. 

Actually Dr. Gellermann finished his thesis 
last summer. At that time New York reporters 
were told about the story. A New York Post 
reporter was asked to write the story. After the 

assistant city editor had discussed the study 
with the managing editor, however, the order 
was countermanded. 

Also, the New York Times and Herald Tri- 
bune correspondents saw hot news in Geller- 
mann’s study and told their superiors about it. 
But no story appeared in either paper. 

Still later, another Post reporter brought the 
study to his city editor’s attention. It was killed 
again. Still no story. 

Finally, in May, 1938, Professor Geller- 
mann’s thesis was announced for publication, 
and reporters were informed that it would be 
publicized in the routine manner on publica- 
tion date. 

It was only by coincidence that Professor Gel- 
lermann’s book came from the printers when 
it did. A Times reporter wrote two columns 
about it at the request of his editors. The 
Times, previously cold to Gellermann’s study, 
now decided to play it on page one. 

The next day the Times attacked the study. 
The Post and the Herald Tribune, which had 
ignored the study in their news columns, 
praised it loudly. 

Thus far, the controversy over the Geller- 
mann analysis of the Legion has taken chiefly 
the form of name calling. Few of those who 
have attacked Professor Gellermann bothered 
to read his book or answer his specific charges. 
They have shouted; “Crackpot, red, Commu- 
nist, un-American, libel, Moscow, jackass, puny 
mind, fly-speck.” Of course. Professor Geller- 
mann was guilty of name calling himself when 
he spoke of the Legion as being “potentially 
fascist” and linked it with such organizations 
as the Black Legion. However, as Professor Gel- 
lermann later pointed out in a letter to the 
Times, his conclusions were based upon long 
research and “factual evidence.” 

Dr. Gellermann’s letter to the Times, inci- 
dentally, was probably responsible for Ralph 
Thompson’s highly favorable book review 
which appeared in the same issue. 

< 'jCT* 

Tit for Tat 

“Oil and ‘the More Abundant 
Life’ ... an Epic for America’s 
Newspaper Readers.” 

Under this streamer last month eighteen 
newspaper publishers, including Frank E. Gan- 
nett, of the powerful Gannett chain, and J. 
Noel Macy, of the Westchester Newspapers, 
seven influential dailies in New York’s opulent 



Westchester County, told readers of Editor and 
Publisher the story of the petroleum industry 
— ac v the petroleum industry prefers to have it 

Nearly fourteen billion dollars have been in- 
vested by two million Americans in the petro- 
leum industry. One million employes receive 
$1,500,000,000 in wages from it every year; 
eleven million workers are dependent upon it, 
eith iirectly or indirectly, for their living. Di- 
rect taxes on gasoline alone totaled $964,000,000 
in 1937. 

Mr. Gannett and his fellow-publishers 
p ued their rosy picture in two pages of paid 
ad\ .rtising, splattered with photos of battle- 
ships, tractors, airplanes, streamlined locomo- 
tives, oil wells, and trucks. And they concluded: 
“Every citizen . . . should be acquainted with 
all of the facts of this great industry upon 
which his maximum earning power, the health 
and education of his family, present and future 
comforts and pleasures, as well as safety in 
time of war, are so dependent.” 

The petroleum industry, they said, is “one to 
foster and protect for the good of all America/’ 
No citizen, once he knew the facts, could fail 
to realize that. 

Anyone who might have wondered at the ac- 
tion of the publishers in buying two pages of 
Editor and Publisher to proclaim their rever- 


1 . In a civilization as complex and as fraught with 
conflicting propagandas and theories as ours, we 
frequently forget the cathartic value of laughter, 
particularly of laughter at ourselves, at our strong 
prejudices, theories, and assumptions, at their illogic 
and inconsistencies. An interesting experiment is to 
see what drama and laughter can do to propaganda. 
Study cartoons, editorials, letters, speeches, and 
other forms of the most extreme expressions of vio- 
lent partisanship in such conflicts as those between 
the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O., capital and labor, 
democratic and dictatorial nations, communism and 
capitalism, the New Deal and its foes. Write and 
produce a short play which will bring into bold 
relief the day’s news of one or more of these con- 
flicts. Express the tragic as well as the comic elements 
which really exist in a concrete situation— the hyp- 
nosis of a single point of view, with its concomitant 
dogmatism, fanaticism, and violence. 

2. Many organizations with divergent theories 
and remedies are sincerely anxious to help preserve 
the best in American traditions, principles, and 
ideals. Some of these are the American Civil Lib- 

ence for the petroleum industry would have 
found the answer to his bewilderment in the 
final paragraph of the ad. The publishers, he 
would have learned, were inviting American 
industry to place institutional advertising in 
their papers — advertising that would present 
industry’s point of view on the economic prob- 
lems that now face the nation. 

It need hardly be said that any industrialist 
would hesitate to put such ads in newspapers 
that were giving their readers another picture 
of American industry than his. So the publish- 
ers had decided to assure the industrialist that 
he needn’t worry: they realized no less fully 
than he, “what can be accomplished by indi- 
vidual enterprise, under the American system 
[ah! Glittering Generality!], in the satisfaction 
of human needs.” 

The newspapers, which are so eager to pre- 
sent industry’s story, include the Boston Globe , 
Chicago Tribune , Cincinnati Enquirer , Cleve- 
land Press , Columbus Dispatch, Fall River 
Herald News, Gannett Newspapers, Harrisburg 
Patriot & News, Johnstown Democrat, Johns- 
town Tribune , Louisville Courier- Journal, 
Louisville Times, New York Sun, Pittsburgh 
Press, Scranton Times, Washington Star , West- 
chester Newspapers, and Youngstown Vindica- 


erties Union, the American Legion, the Descendents 
of the American Revolution, the Sons and Daughters 
of the .American Revolution. Just what are the 
traditions which these groups wish to preserve? 
What methods are they using? Are they using 
methods consistent with the traditions they wish to 
keep? Discuss the traditions which your group wishes 
to emphasize. What methods and which propa- 
gandas are consistent with these? Which are not? 
Can you separate the methods you use from the 
goals you desire? Specifically, can you attain democ- 
racy by undemocratic methods? What is the function 
of propaganda in the kind of a democracy you desire? 

3. In our national life, one of the times when 
propaganda is particularly rife, when there are 
greater conflicts and sharper expressions of opinion, 
is during a Presidential election. Then all the 
propaganda devices are used. Prepare yourself and 
your group for the next national election. Frame a 
list of questions to ask candidates. Study the work of 
this kind done by the League of Women Voters. If 
possible, bring together on the same platform two 
candidates for the same office. Inquire into their past 



the collapse of the Soviet dictatorship, the de- 
struction of Moscow, and the victory of the 
White Armies for the sixth or seventh time, 
however, American newspaper editors began 
to suspect that Riga, while undoubtedly their 
most prolific source of Soviet news, was prob- 
ably not their most reliable. They began to call 
it “the Riga lie-factory,” and they ordered their 
correspondents to Moscow. 

Of all the great news-gathering agencies, only 
two — The Times , of London, and the Chicago 
Tribune-N. Y. News Syndicate Co., Inc. — still 
keep top-notch men at Riga, still rely upon it 
for their Soviet news. Last month, the Chicago 
Tribune correspondent, Donald Day, had this 
story to report: Workers in the Josef Stalin 
Automobile Works had risen in revolt against 
the Soviet regime; after demolishing the ma- 
chines, and setting the factory afire, they had 
erected barricades and fought a pitched battle 
with members of the Moscow Fire Department 
and the G. P. U.; an undetermined number had 
been killed, and 3,000 were under arrest. 

As far as the Institute has been able to de- 
termine, few American news editors bothered 
to ask their Moscow correspondents to check 
Mr. Day’s story. One, who did, received the 
laconic reply: “Huh?” 


. . While the National Education As- 

y sociation was meeting in New York 

last month. Professor William Gellermann’s 
thesis, The American Legion as Educator, was 
published by the Bureau of Publications, 
Teachers College, Columbia University. It was 
immediately charged that some one at Teach- 
ers College wanted to embarrass the N. E. A. by 
giving newspaper readers the impression that 
the N. E. A. was in some way responsible for 
Professor Gellermann’s study. On the contrary, 
the New York Times’ page-one story about the 
dissertation appeared on the opening day of 
the educators’ convention simply because the 
books went on sale that day. Teachers College 
had expected that the books would be ready 
for sale as early as May 15; but delays at the 
bindery made delivery coincide with the open- 
ing of the convention. The coincidence was not 
premeditated; it was sheer accident. 

Actually Dr. Gellermann finished his thesis 
last summer. At that time New York reporters 
were told about the story. A New York Post 
reporter was asked to write the story. After the 

assistant city editor had discussed the study 
with the managing editor, however, the order 
was countermanded. 

Also, the New York Times and Herald Tri- 
bune correspondents saw hot news in Geller- 
mann’s study and told their superiors about it. 
But no story appeared in either paper. 

Still later, another Post reporter brought the 
study to his city editor’s attention. It was killed 
again. Still no story. 

Finally, in May, 1938, Professor Geller- 
mann’s thesis was announced for publication, 
and reporters were informed that it would be 
publicized in the routine manner on publica- 
tion date. 

It was only by coincidence that Professor Gel- 
lermann’s book came from the printers when 
it did. A Times reporter wrote two columns 
about it at the request of his editors. The 
Times, previously cold to Gellermann’s study, 
now decided to play it on page one. 

The next day the T imes attacked the study. 
The Post and the Herald Tribune, which had 
ignored the study in their news columns, 
praised it loudly. 

Thus far, the controversy over the Geller- 
mann analysis of the Legion has taken chiefly 
the form of name calling. Few of those who 
have attacked Professor Gellermann bothered 
to read his book or answer his specific charges. 
They have shouted; “Crackpot, red, Commu- 
nist, un-American, libel, Moscow, jackass, puny 
mind, fly-speck.” Of course, Professor Geller- 
mann was guilty of name calling himself when 
he spoke of the Legion as being “potentially 
fascist” and linked it with such organizations 
as the Black Legion. However, as Professor Gel- 
lermann later pointed out in a letter to the 
Times, his conclusions were based upon long 
research and “factual evidence.” 

Dr. Gellermann’s letter to the Times, inci- 
dentally, was probably responsible for Ralph 
Thompson’s highly favorable book review 
which appeared in the same issue. 

< 'jQn 

Tit for Tot 

“Oil and ‘the More Abundant 
Life’ ... an Epic for America’s 
Newspaper Readers.” 

Under this streamer last month eighteen 
newspaper publishers, including Frank E. Gan- 
nett, of the powerful Gannett chain, and J. 
Noel Macy, of the Westchester Newspapers, 
seven influential dailies in New York’s opulent 



Westchester County, told readers of Editor and 
Publisher the story of the petroleum industry 
— as the petroleum industry prefers to have it 

Nearly fourteen billion dollars have been in- 
vested by two million Americans in the petro- 
leum industry. One million employes receive 
$1,500,000,000 in wages from it every year; 
eleven million workers are dependent upon it, 
either directly or indirectly, for their living. Di- 
rect taxes on gasoline alone totaled $964,000,000 
in 1937. 

Mr. Gannett and his fellow-publishers 
painted their rosy picture in two pages of paid 
advertising, splattered with photos of battle- 
ships, tractors, airplanes, streamlined locomo- 
tives, oil wells, and trucks. And they concluded: 
“Every citizen . . . should be acquainted with 
all of the facts of this great industry upon 
which his maximum earning power, the health 
and education of his family, present and future 
comforts and pleasures, as well as safety in 
time of war, are so dependent." 

The petroleum industry, they said, is “one to 
foster and protect for the good of all America." 
No citizen, once he knew the facts, could fail 
to realize that. 

Anyone who might have wondered at the ac- 
tion of the publishers in buying two pages of 
Editor and Publisher to proclaim their rever- 


1 . In a civilization as complex and as fraught with 
conflicting propagandas and theories as ours, we 
frequently forget the cathartic value of laughter, 
particularly of laughter at ourselves, at our strong 
prejudices, theories, and assumptions, at their illogic 
and inconsistencies. An interesting experiment is to 
see what drama and laughter can do to propaganda. 
Study cartoons, editorials, letters, speeches, and 
other forms of the most extreme expressions of vio- 
lent partisanship in such conflicts as those between 
the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O., capital and labor, 
democratic and dictatorial nations, communism and 
capitalism, the New Deal and its foes. Write and 
produce a short play which will bring into bold 
relief the day’s news of one or more of these con- 
flicts. Express the tragic as well as the comic elements 
which really exist in a concrete situation— the hyp- 
nosis of a single point of view, with its concomitant 
dogmatism, fanaticism, and violence. 

2. Many organizations with divergent theories 
and remedies are sincerely anxious to help preserve 
the best in American traditions, principles, and 
ideals. Some of these are the American Civil Lib- 

ence for the petroleum industry would have 
found the answer to his bewilderment in the 
final paragraph of the ad. The publishers, he 
would have learned, were inviting American 
industry to place institutional advertising in 
their papers — advertising that would present 
industry’s point of view on the economic prob- 
lems that now face the nation. 

It need hardly be said that any industrialist 
would hesitate to put such ads in newspapers 
that were giving their readers another picture 
of American industry than his. So the publish- 
ers had decided to assure the industrialist that 
he needn’t worry: they realized no less fully 
than he, “what can be accomplished by indi- 
vidual enterprise, under the American system 
[ahl Glittering Generality!], in the satisfaction 
of human needs." 

The newspapers, which are so eager to pre- 
sent industry’s story, include the Boston Globe, 
Chicago Tribune, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cleve- 
land Press, Columbus Dispatch, Fall River 
Herald News, Gannett Newspapers, Harrisburg 
Patriot & News, Johnstown Democrat, Johns- 
town Tribune , Louisville Courier- Journal, 
Louisville Tunes, New York Sun, Pittsburgh 
Press, Scranton Times, Washington Star, West- 
chester Newspapers, and Youngstown Vindica- 


erties Union, the American Legion, the Descendents 
of the American Revolution, the Sons and Daughters 
of the American Revolution. Just what are the 
traditions which these groups wish to preserve? 
What methods are they using? Are they using 
methods consistent with the traditions they wish to 
keep? Discuss the traditions which your group wishes 
to emphasize. What methods and which propa- 
gandas are consistent with these? Which are not? 
Can you separate the methods you use from the 
goals you desire? Specifically, can you attain democ- 
racy by undemocratic methods? What is the function 
of propaganda in the kind of a democracy you desire? 

3. In our national life, one of the times when 
propaganda is particularly rife, when there are 
greater conflicts and sharper expressions of opinion, 
is during a Presidential election. Then all the 
propaganda devices are used. Prepare yourself and 
your group for the next national election. Frame a 
list of questions to ask candidates. Study the work of 
this kind done by the League of Women Voters. If 
possible, bring together on the same platform two 
candidates for the same office. Inquire into their past 



legislative records. Learn about lobbies and pressure 
groups. Break down the Glittering Generalities used. 
Determine the meaning of the “bad” names used in 
the campaign. Find out where the “cards have been 
stacked” for or against a particular proposal. Are 
the members of your group getting onto the “band 
wagon” simply because it is the thing to do or have 

they thought through the specific issues in the cam- 
paign? Make a list of these issues and from speeches, 
editorials, correspondence, and other sources deter- 
mine how the candidates would vote and what ac- 
tion they would take. Rank the issues in order of 
importance, then rank the candidates. 

Volume II 

OCTOBER 1, 1938 

Number 1 

News from Europe 

T HE print is hardly dry on your newspaper 
when already the headlines seem old, stale, 
meaningless. Crisis follows crisis, incident 
crowds on incident — all with such dizzy speed 
that you sometimes feel as though one split- 
second alone may stand between war in Eu- 
rope, and peace. Only seven months have passed 
since Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler stood in Vi- 
enna, in the shadow of Nazi guns, and pro- 
claimed Anschluss. Today, his troops are 
massed along the Czech frontier. Tomorrow — 
well, anything can happen tomorrow. T n the 
propagandist- training schools of Nazi Ger- 
many, where youngsters are taught how to mold 
public opinion as though it were fresh-smelling 
clay, the chief topic of conversation is now 
Rumania. Students are learning how to stir up 
pro-Nazi feeling in Rumania — just as Ger- 
many did in Austria before Anschluss, just as 
Germany did in Sudetenland before Hitler an- 
nounced that Sudetenland also must be his. 

Offhand, it would therefore seem that Ru- 
mania is next on Hitler’s list. 

Events move swiftly in Europe today, and 
trans-Atlantic cables hum as never before since 
the Versailles Treaty. Never before has so much 
been written about Europe, nor so much said. 
And never before has there been so much con- 
fusion about what is actually happening there. 
One bulletin contradicts another; one interpre- 
tive story contradicts the next. 

Of course, some things are clear. Germany’s 
Drang nach Osten is under way again. Its goal 
is the Ukraine. That much — the bare outline 

— is evident . 1 And, the only question is: Will 
Germany be stopped? 

Day-to-day events, however, are more ob- 
scure. On Monday, September 19 , for example, 
John T. Whitaker, of the Chicago Daily News, 
reported from Prague that Czechoslovakia was 
defiant, that she would fight to her last man. 
That very day, in the very same edition, how- 
ever, M. W. Fodor, another Daily News man in 
Prague, reported that Czechoslovakia was back- 
ing down. Later came the report from London 
that Czechoslovakia had surrendered to Hitler’s 
demands. Yet, on Wednesday morning, G. E. 
R. Gedye, of the New York Times, cabled that 
England and France had renewed their pressure 
on Czechoslovakia to surrender; the report 
from London, he said, was an outright “lie.” 

Similarly, on the same day that Ferdinand 
Kuhn, Jr., of the New York Times, reported 
from London that England and France had 
capitulated to Hitler, Mr. Gedye reported from 
Prague that France undoubtedly would stand 
by her treaty with the Czechs. 

Was there ever any doubt that England and 
France would capitulate to Hitler? Perhaps 
there was. On the other hand, it may very well 
be that Neville Chamberlain and Edouard 
Daladier had made their decision even before 
Chamberlain’s first visit to Hitler, before the 
disorders in Sudetenland or Henlein’s ultima- 
tum to Czechoslovakia — before Hitler’s Nu- 
remberg speech, in fact. Way back in May, 
Constantine Brown wrote in his syndicated 
Washington column that England and France 

1 It has been evident for some time. In the May issue of 
Propaganda Analysis, “Propaganda Techniques of Ger- 
man Fascism,” the Institute predicted: “Meanwhile, 
German Fascist propaganda may be expected increas- 

ingly to penetrate other lands: in some countries, such as 
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania, as preparation 
for Anschluss; elsewhere as a means of obtaining open 
or tacit approval of such German Fascist expansion.” 



had already “sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia/’ 
And Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Paris correspondent 
of the Chicago Daily News, was assured during 
the first week of September that Czechoslovakia 
had been “sold down the river.” 

Why this confusion? How do reputable 
American newspapers happen to print reports 
that are later revealed as lies? Faced with so 
many contradictory reports, what can we be- 

In the game of diplomacy, that government 
is strongest which has public opinion behind 
it. A government which doesn’t have the sup- 
port of its people starts with two strikes against 
it. Hostile world opinion can mean defeat. It 
is, therefore, only natural that governments 
should befog their every move in propaganda; 
that governments should attempt to color the 
news, twist fact into fiction and fiction into fact. 

One tool which makes this possible is censor- 
ship. Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Japan, 
the Soviet Union — all censor news dispatches. 
Of course, the extent of censorship varies from 
country to country, and even in the same coun- 
try at different times. A month ago, Czechoslo- 
vakia made almost no attempt to censor the 
cables. As this is written, the censorship is very 
strict. On the other hand, the German censor 
does not bother even to read dispatches before 
they are sent. The correspondent puts his story 
on the cables, then lets the censor read the 
carbons. If the story is considered unfriendly to 
Adolf Hitler, the censor may warn the corre- 
spondent to watch his step. If the correspond- 
ent persists in sending unfriendly stories, he 
will find that his news-sources are closed to him; 
party and government officials will refuse to 
speak to him; government bureaus will refuse 
to give him information. Later may come ex- 
pulsion from the country. 

In the Soviet Union, the censor reads every- 
thing. He bluepencils dispatches, and some- 
times he will even censor them in their entirety. 
Often, however, the correspondent will be per- 
mitted to send the story with this note: “The 
Soviet censor will not let me say that. ...” Dis- 
patches which begin with that phrase are never 
printed: they are cabled by the correspondent 
for his editor’s personal information, and to 
guide him in his editorial policy. 

Censorship, however, is not the foreign prop- 
agandist’s only tool. Where can the correspond- 
ent in Europe get his facts? Here in the United 
States the correspondent for (let us say) the 

official German news agency can find out what 
is happening by reading newspapers and maga- 
zines of every shade: Republican, New Deal, 
Socialist, Communist, Fascist; checking one 
against the other. If there is any doubt about 
certain government statistics the opposition 
parties will be sure to point that out. Nobody 
will have any hesitation in talking with the 
correspondent, from the man in the street to 
high government officials, for in this country 
they don’t throw you in jail for talking. 

In Germany, however, the American corre- 
spondent faces another situation entirely. He 
reads the papers: in fact, he gets most of his 
information from them. Unfortunately, he can 
learn from them only what the government 
wants the German people to know, for the press 
of Germany is strictly regulated. During the 
past month the German press has been full of 
atrocity stories: Hitler apparently wants to stir 
his people to hatred against the Czechs. The 
German press has also been full of reports that 
Soviet troops are being sent to Czechoslovakia: 
Hitler, of course, likes to mask his every action 
with anti-Communist slogans. “I saved Europe 
from Communism” is his propaganda stock-in- 
trade. Many of these stories have been cabled 
to America: the correspondents knew that some 
of them were out-and-out lies, that others had 
only the barest relation to fact. Nevertheless, 
they felt that Americans should know what the 
Nazi government was saying about the Sudeten 

Government statistics are hard to get in Ger- 
many, and those you do get may be doctored. 
The correspondent never really knows for sure 
because there are no opposition statistics. As 
for talking freely with people whom he meets, 
that is manifestly impossible. People won’t talk 
freely with foreigners, except in praise of the 
government — not as long as Germany has its 

News from Europe, by its very nature, is gen- 
erally of the it-was-learned-from-an-official- 
source variety. Diplomats will talk, but rarely 
for direct quotation: that might cause trouble 
with another power. Correspondents will occa- 
sionally get information from their friends; but 
they can’t reveal the source of that information, 
not if they value their friends’ safety. 

This makes the job of the foreign propa- 
gandist almost ridiculously easy. He whispers 
his propaganda stories into the ear of the Amer- 
ican correspondent, then sits back and waits to 



read them in the American press. No responsi- 
bility can be pinned on him. As long as the 
correspondent must come to him for informa- 
tion, he can flood America with propaganda. 

Pick up any newspaper today and read the 
dispatches from Europe. Many of the most im- 
portant will be ascribed to mysterious “official” 
sources. “A man who saw . . . Adolf Hitler’s 
memorandum to Prime Minister Chamberlain 
today said that it was most conciliatory in tone 
...” (The memorandum was later made pub- 
lic; and there was nothing conciliatory about 
it.) Now these mystery-men, who generally are 
members of the diplomatic corps, sometimes 
give the correspondents accurate, unbiased in- 
formation. Sometimes, but not always. The 
London dispatch that Czechoslovakia had sur- 
rendered to Germany, which so enraged Mr. 
Gedye, for example, was “learned here today 
from an official source.” Whoever planted the 
story on American newspapermen did so, ap- 
parently, with the hope of forcing Czechoslo- 
vakia’s hand, for, as was evidenced by later 
developments, some English diplomats were 
piqued no end by Czechoslovakia’s delay in 
committing national suicide. 

Last May, the chancelleries of Europe were 
panicked by the report that Germany was mo- 
bilizing to invade Czechoslovakia. The story 
came originally from Prague; it was relayed to 
America by English diplomats in Germany and 
London. In his Nuremberg address last month, 
Adolf Hitler charged that it was false; and it 
may be that Herr Plitler, who is quite an expert 
at lying himself and makes no bones about it 
(see Mein Kampf), was right. The London 
N eius-Chronicle thinks so, although it recently 
praised the Foreign Office for its acumen in 
spreading the story. Frank C. Hanighen, the 
journalist, was in Germany when the story 
broke, and he thinks so, too. He says: “I know 
of no (foreign) observer who believes that the 
Germans were mobilizing to attack Czechoslo- 
vakia — and some of the embassies tapped un- 
usual sources of information and made inten- 
sive investigations before arriving at this 

Later, there was another report that German 
troops were getting ready to invade Sude ten- 
land. This one actually set the date of the 
invasion: August 15. Newspapers headlined it. 
Walter Winchell barked it over the air. As the 
world now knows, August 15 came and went, 
Germany did not march. 

The report was started by Genevieve Ta- 
bouis, of the French newspaper, L’Oeuvre. It 
was picked up shortly afterward by The Week, 
of London, then broadcast throughout Amer- 
ica. Genevieve Tabouis and Maxim Litvinoff, 
the Soviet Foreign Commissar, are close friends; 
she also has many friends at the Quai d’Orsay. 
It has been suggested by some newspapermen 
that either M. Litvinoff or else the Quai d’Orsay 
planted the story on her in order to embarrass 
Flerr Hitler, reasoning that when Germany 
failed to march on August 15, the world prob- 
ably would feel that England, France, and the 
Soviet Union — the so-called democratic bloc of 
nations — had won another diplomatic victory 
over Germany and the Fascist axis. This, it was 
hoped, would strengthen the sentiment for col- 
lective action, these newspapermen maintain. 

On the other hand, one New York cable edi- 
tor, at least, believes that Germany encourages 
newspaper stories that she is getting ready to 
march, and surreptitiously helps to spread 
them. He says that Germany doesn’t want to 
fight, that Germany can’t fight, that Germany 
counts on getting her way by threats. Newspa- 
per stories of German mobilization, if they are 
believed, can be even more threatening, he says, 
titan ultimata. He does not believe that Mile. 
Tabouis got her story from German diplomats, 
merely that German diplomats encouraged it, 
hoping to use it for their own propaganda ends. 1 

The idea of inspiring fake mobilization sto- 
ries in order to intimidate other nations is 
hardly new. In the midst of the Ethiopian in- 
vasion, when there was talk in the League of 
Nations of cutting off Italy’s oil-supply, the 
Italian Foreign Office inspired one that nearly 
threw England into panic. It was the story 
about Italy's “Squadron of Death,” aviators, 
who (it was learned from an official source) 
had offered to crash their planes into England’s 
Mediterranean fleet and wipe it out, if oil 
sanctions were declared. 

Still another factor operates to color the news 
from Europe. The newspaper correspondent 
must stay on good terms with government of- 
ficials, since he gets so many of his stories from 
them. Consequently, he may at times have to 
slant his story to avoid offending them. He 
plays ball with them, and they play ball with 
him. That’s how newspapermen must work. 

Now the American newspaperman is the most 
indefatigable news-gatherer in the world. If 
the facts can be gotten, he’ll get them. He’ll 



write the story as objectively as possible (for, 
with few notable exceptions, American news- 
papermen are not propagandists.) Still, the 
cards are stacked against him. In fact, under 
the circumstances, the high level of the average 
foreign correspondent's work is truly remark- 

It should be remembered, moreover, that all 
the reporters who cover Europe for the Amer- 
ican press are not Americans. Newspapers some- 
times find it necessary to hire Europeans. And 
the Europeans, while they way be well versed 
in the language, customs, and history of their 
country, and while they may have innumerable 
news-sources, developed through many years of 
newspaper work, nevertheless can hardly be ex- 
pected to write objectively. Sometimes, it would 
seem, they can't even write. A German was 
United Press correspondent in Munich last 
spring when Hitler ordered his army to advance 
on Austria. He notified his editors that German 
troops were moving southward — then, nothing 
was heard from him. The United Press was 
frantic. Here was the biggest story of the year. 
For dozens of newspapers which use the U. P., 
press-time was rolling around. Yet, there was 
no word from Munich. Finally, word came: the 
correspondent had been ordered to join his 
regiment, and he could not, therefore, cover 
the invasion. He was going to participate in 
the invasion, himself. 

The United Press was beaten on the story — 
not badly, for it had other ways to get the news 

— but that is not the point. Suppose the corre- 
spondent had been able to cover the invasion: 
how could he possibly have been expected to 
report it without bias, particularly with the 
shadow of the prison camp looming beside him? 

During the next few months, the news from 
Europe may become even more bewildering 
than it has been heretofore. Certainly, the na- 
tions of Europe can be expected to intensify 
their efforts to color news dispatches, to flood 
the cables with propaganda stories. In England, 
for example, there has long been talk of start- 
ing an intensive propaganda campaign to coun- 
teract the isolationist feeling in the United 
States; and now, in view of the wave of revul- 
sion that swept the American press at what the 
papers chose to call “the betrayal" and “the 
sell-out" of Czechoslovakia, it seems likely that 
something may soon be done. 

For, if England goes to war, she'll do her best 
to gain America's support. England believes, as 
C. V. R. Thompson, New York correspondent 
of the London Evening Standard, wrote only 
the other day, that “America is strictly isola- 
tionist, strictly pacific, and concerned only with 
the welfare of herself and her neighbors." As 
Mr. Thompson hastened to add, however, Eng- 
land also believes that “Emotionalism fanned 
by propaganda sent (America) to help democ- 
racy once before. Some bands and some parades, 
an incident or two like the sinking of a British 
liner or the bombing of London might cause 
her to change her mind again." 


I. Why are the nations of Europe so concerned 
with what Americans think of the European situa- 
tion? What attitudes do you think Americans have 
toward the European crisis? On what facts do you 
base your opinions? What attitudes do you think 
each of the following governments wants America to 
adopt toward Europe's present conflicts: England, 
France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, Czech- 

II. How was emotional feeling whipped up in 
America before and after our entrance into the 
World War in 1917? Consider how propaganda is 
used to “get people ready to fight."' Bibliography 
suggestions here include, Walter Millis’ The Road 
to War and O. W. Riegel’s Mobilizing for Chaos. 

Following suggestions given in the bound copy 
of Volume I of Propaganda Analysis, examine your 
own emotions concerning the present European 
crisis. Are you partisan? Why? How does your fear 

of war affect your view of the situation in Europe? 

III. People who listened to Adolf Hitler’s Nu- 
remberg and Berlin addresses over the radio and 
then read the full text in their newspapers the fol- 
lowing day, were impressed by the fact that state- 
ments which seemed relatively unexciting in print 
sounded harsh, threatening, and packed with men- 
ace when spoken. 

What effects do voice tone and quality, and rhythm 
patterns of speech have upon radio listeners? 

Take down a few excitement-packed sentences 
concerning the European crisis. Deliver these sen- 
tences, first in a monotone, then as dramatically and 
forcefullv as you can. Make notes of the propaganda 
devices used in radio oratory. Discuss them. 

IV. The Chicago Daily News said recently that 
propaganda was Reichsfuehrer Hitler's "deadliest 

Specifically, what does this statement mean? Con- 

8 4 


sider such questions as: (1) Wherein lie the differ- 
ences between propaganda in Germany and propa- 
ganda in the United States and other democratic 
nations? (2) Does the Nazi propaganda machine give 
Adolf Hitler the upper hand in negotiations with 
the democratic nations? If so, why? If not, why not? 
(3) When German newspapers clamor hysterically 
for action on some particular issue what inferences 
can we draw about the plans of the Nazi govern- 
ment? (See the May issue of Propaganda Analysis.) 

V. Consider the question of censorship as propa- 
ganda. Discuss why nations have censors. George 
Seldes’ You Can't Print That should be helpful to 
the group leader in planning his discussion outline. 

VI. Pick up today’s newspaper. Look at a news 
story datelined Berlin on the disorders in Sudeten- 

Consider the source of the story. Does the factor 
of the city or country from which the story is filed 
affect the story in any way? How? Was the news story 
ascribed to any person in particular? Was the story 
written by the reporter on the basis of his own ob- 
servation? On documentary evidence? On an inter- 
view? If so, was “the authority’’ named? If the name 
of the person is withheld at his request, what do you 
think he sought to achieve by asking that his name 
be withheld? 

Suppose another reporter in Prague were recount- 
ing the same event. Is there any possibility that his 
version might differ from that of the German cor- 
respondent? How might it differ? Why?